An HIV vaccine will be ready by 2030, thus ending most new cases of the virus, according to billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
Gates pours millions of dollars into medical research each year through the philanthropic efforts of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Ultimately, the HIV vaccine would be one tool in the fight to end the virus which leads to AIDS once and for all. The other tool would be more intense drug therapies.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Gates spoke of his optimism.
“We’re pretty optimistic in this 15-year period we will get those two new tools,” Gates said, adding that “the number of people getting treatment for HIV in sub-Saharan Africa would finally outstrip the number of new infections.”
“When we reach that point in the region with the most dense HIV transmission in the world, cases will start going down everywhere around the globe for the first time since the disease was discovered more than 30 years ago,” Bill and Melinda Gates wrote in their annual letter.
Gates was also very enthusiastic about the end of malaria, which is further along in the vaccine process. The Guardianreports that GlaxoSmithKline filed for approval on the world’s first vaccine in July 2014.
“We won’t see the end of AIDS,” Gates told the Davos forum Friday. “But both for malaria and AIDS we’re seeing the tools that will let us do 95-100% reduction. Those tools will be invented during this 15-year period.”
On December 9, the Inquisitrreported on a study that indicated the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is weakening in its ability to develop into AIDS.
According to the study titled, “Impact of HLA-driven HIV adaptation on virulence in populations of high HIV seroprevalence,” funded by the Wellcome Trust and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the decreasing virulence of HIV due to its evolution could be one of the major factors causing the recently observed slowing of the AIDS pandemic.
The team of researchers, which included scientists from the Oxford University in the UK, South Africa, Canada, Tokyo, Harvard University, and Microsoft Research, conducted a study involving over 2,000 women with chronic HIV infections from Botswana and South Africa, two countries most affected by the AIDS pandemic.
The study found that the body’s natural immune response to HIV infection has contributed to the lowering of the virulence of HIV over the decades and slowing of the AIDS pandemic.
Previous studies have confirmed that people with a gene that synthesizes a variant of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA), called HLA-B*57, have an increased ability to resist HIV infection.
Do you think Bill Gates is right in his prediction that an HIV vaccine will be ready by 2030?
[Image via Flickr Creative Commons]