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Thai AIDS trial may help fund research

An anti-AIDS campaign poster is displayed at the Thai Ministry of Public Health in Bangkok -- September 24, 2009

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Researchers this week are meeting in New York to see what may come of a possible new AIDS vaccine. They describe recent trial results in Thailand as a breakthrough. More now from reporter Joel Rose.


Joel Rose: While the trial results are encouraging, researchers caution that any public health benefit is still years, and billions of dollars, away.

Marshall Warren: But there's now a proof of concept. We now know that an AIDS vaccine is possible, and it certainly makes the case for additional investment, I think, much stronger.

Marshall Warren directs the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition. He'll join dozens of scientists, vaccine makers, government officials and philanthropic donors at a meeting this week in New York.

Warren is hoping to see more investment from pharmaceutical companies. So far, he says, they account for little of the $850 million a year flowing into AIDS vaccine research.

Warren: There's been very limited private sector engagement. Industry has been involved in AIDS vaccine research, but not with its own money. In large part because industry finds this science very risky, and it is very risky science.

Warren says pharmaceutical companies reduced their funding after a promising AIDS vaccine from drug-maker Merck failed two years ago. He hopes the Thai results will have the opposite effect.

I'm Joel Rose for Marketplace.

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