Scientist has little hope for HIV vaccine

Feb. 15, 2008 at 7:27 PM   |   Comments

BOSTON, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- A Nobel Prize-winning U.S. biologist says researchers are no closer to an HIV vaccine today than they were in 1984.

David Baltimore, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said that despite continuing efforts to develop a vaccine, scientists hold little hope for success, the BBC reported.

"Some years ago I came to the conclusion that our community had to seriously undertake new approaches or we might find ourselves with a worldwide epidemic and no effective response," Baltimore said Thursday at the annual meeting of the AAAS in Boston. "That is just where we are today."

Baltimore, who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1975 for the co-discovery of reverse transcriptase, an enzyme that was later found to be used by HIV to replicate in human cells, said he believes HIV has found ways to completely flood the human immune system.

"This is a huge challenge because to control HIV immunologically the scientific community has to beat out nature, do something that nature, with its advantage of 4 billion years of evolution, has not been able to do," Baltimore said.

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