Monday, Feb 19, 2018 | Last Update : 05:46 PM IST
Adding a vaccine could significantly reduce new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths, a new study focused on low and middle-income countries across Africa and Asia that are home to a vast majority o
Adding a vaccine could significantly reduce new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths, a new study focused on low and middle-income countries across Africa and Asia that are home to a vast majority of the world’s people living with HIV/AIDS, has revealed.
According to the study published in Plos One, a 70-percent-effective AIDS vaccine with a strong uptake could reduce new annual HIV infections in LMICs by 44 per cent in its first 10 years and 65 per cent in 25 years, ultimately averting tens of millions of infections and saving millions of lives.
The study also demonstrates that an AIDS vaccine would be impactful and cost-effective across a wide range of product characteristics.
“Higher efficacy, longer-lasting protection, fewer doses, lower vaccine costs and a more effective rollout will increase both health impact and cost-effectiveness,” it said.
“This study reaffirms how a safe vaccine could be instrumental in reducing the number of new infections and save millions of lives. This would significantly reduce the treatment costs and even reduce total response costs over time,” said Dr Rajat Goyal, India country director at International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. He added, “It is clear that we must continue to expedite development of an effective HIV vaccine alongside critical efforts to accelerate and sustain broad and equitable access to effective antiretroviral therapy and new approaches for pre-exposure prophylaxis.”
According to the figures from the National Aids Control Organisation, India has around 21.17 lakh people living with HIV/AIDS, the third highest number in the world. Out of this 40.5 per cent of the total HIV infections are among women.
“Adding a vaccine to a comprehensive HIV/AIDS response will hasten the end of the global epidemic and ensure that it won’t rebound,” said Ms Mitchell Warren, executive director, AVAC.
“A safe, effective and affordable AIDS vaccine is an essential complement to the existing treatment and prevention options, and this study highlights why accelerated investments are needed for both implementation of what we have and the development of what we still need.