'HIV fight: No vaccine in sight'

HARARE - Researchers and scientists are far from getting a vaccine that could prevent new HIV infections.

Speaking at an HIV vaccine meeting held in Harare recently, Nyaradzo Mgodi, a local researcher, said although vaccines are the most effective preventive measures against diseases, the world is still grappling with solutions to the HIV scourge which has killed millions.

There is debate on whether to focus on the cure or to just concentrate on a vaccine to end the Aids epidemic.

Mgodi said an HIV vaccine would either protect individuals who are HIV negative from contracting the virus, or may have a therapeutic effect on people already living with HIV/Aids.

Activists believe that the development of such a vaccine and other prevention options can help fight and eradicate the disease.

“Effective vaccines against polio, measles, mumps, rubella and other diseases have significantly reduced rates of these illnesses in many parts of the world. Today, many scientists, clinical trial teams and communities are working together on the search for an Aids vaccine,” Mgodi said.

Mgodi said it is difficult to develop the HIV vaccine because the virus is transmitted in many ways and a vaccine is still a long way off.

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