Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) starts to roll out the first testing for its recently completed HIV vaccine by looking out for volunteers who would like to test the drug.
OHSU began its crusade via the recruitment of volunteers. A website is launched where willing participants can find out the gist of the study. Furthermore, it also offers an information sheet where the process is a little bit more detailed plus contact numbers for those who would like to personally talk to coordinators of the experiment.
A lot is riding on the shoulders of the success of the study as it can also kick start the same process for other deadly infections including malaria and hepatitis C. As of now, the same steps are being taken with Tuberculosis which kills an average of 2 million people every year,
"HIV is the poster child because it affects so many people, but there are many other conditions that are also extremely challenging to prevent or cure," Dr. Marcel Curlin, an infectious disease specialist at OHSU and is one of the main coordinators for the HIV vaccine trials, said.
While things are progressing in the United States in terms of research for HIV cure, United Kingdom is facing a hurdle with NHS (National Health Service) England's refusal to fund a treatment method for the aforementioned disease.
A new method dubbed as the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) prevention way where a daily pill is prescribed, is said to reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 86 percent according to a recent study. Unfortunately since the new approach is considered as a preventative service, the responsibility of setting it in motion falls on local authorities instead of the NHS.
Numerous charities championing the cause aired their grievance on NHS' decision including Deborah Gold, chief executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust).
"NHS England is sitting on something that could be the beginning of the end for the HIV epidemic – if only it were made available. The refusal to commission it for all those at significant risk is astonishing," she told The Guardian.
Gold's sentiments are mirrored by Terrence Higgins Trust boss Ian Green stating that it " is a shameful day for HIV prevention."
"This country used to lead the way in the fight against the HIV epidemic, but today, our national health service has washed its hands of one of the most stunning breakthroughs we've seen; a pill which, if taken correctly, is almost 100 percent effective in preventing HIV," he added.