HIV vaccine research 'to reach defining moment'

The next six years will see the culmination of a thirty-year hunt for a vaccine against HIV, according to a British HIV researcher leading the search.

Professor Jonathan Weber has been leading HIV research for the past 30 years. Credit: Reuters

Professor Weber has been working towards the goal of an effective HIV vaccine since 1985. He told doctors and leading HIV clinicians in Liverpool today:

"By the end of this decade I believe we will have reached a defining moment in the history of HIV vaccination research. We will be able to say with confidence if a generation of work has delivered an effective HIV vaccine candidate.

“If not we will know that our current technology is not enough. We will require an as-yet unmade scientific breakthrough.

"We have seen success, albeit with rates of protection which are too low. Perhaps the HIV vaccine research community can learn from our highly successful Olympic athletes. Marginal gains can really add up to success.

"A series of minor improvements in the vaccines we currently have will optimise their potency.”