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SEATTLE -- More than 900 global researchers, clinicians, and specialists convene this week for the AIDS Vaccine 2007 Conference. Since the AIDS Vaccine 2000 Conference in Paris, this event has emerged as the premier forum for the exchange of scientific information relating to the difficult task of developing an effective vaccine against HIV.
"It has become clear that a preventive vaccine is essential to controlling the global AIDS epidemic," says conference chair Dr. Lawrence Corey. "The conference provides a venue for the full-scale international, interdisciplinary collaboration which is critical to the development of a global AIDS vaccine."
The week-long conference which concludes on Aug. 23 will examine the entire spectrum of issues in AIDS vaccine development and deployment: including the global effort in preventative and therapeutic vaccines, the potential development of pediatric and adolescent vaccines, clinical trials in emerging countries, and the need for strong political and financial commitment to support the scientific development of a vaccine against AIDS.
The location of the conference in Seattle is reflective of the Pacific Northwest's international leadership in the development of an AIDS vaccine. Seattle organizations contributing to the conference include the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's HIV Vaccine Trials Network, the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, the University of Washington and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
AIDS Vaccine 2007 is the first conference to be organized under the auspices of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, an alliance of independent organizations around the world dedicated to accelerating the development of a preventive HIV vaccine. Additionally, at this year's conference the Enterprise will release its first comprehensive report, detailing the successes and efforts of global AIDS vaccine research over the last four years.
"By hosting the conference the Enterprise furthers its purpose to help scientists work as a global community of problem solvers in the spirit of collaboration to move the best science forward as quickly as possible," says Dr. Jose Esparza, conference co-chair and interim head of the Enterprise.
The AIDS epidemic continues to grow as a global threat with the number of people living with HIV increasing in every region of the world. According to UNAIDS, the most striking increases have occurred in East Asia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, where the number of people living with HIV in 2006 was more than one-fifth (21 percent) higher than in 2004.
Source: AIDS Vaccine 2007 Conference