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Aids may cause famine, industrial collapse

By Vision Reporter

Added 2nd July 2001 03:00 AM

Professor Robert Gallo, the doctor who first identified the AIDS virus and developed a test for it, has warned of widespread famine and industrial collapse if the HIV epidemic is not adequately addressed.

By Dr Muiris Houston, Medical Correspondent Professor Robert Gallo, the doctor who first identified the AIDS virus and developed a test for it, has warned of widespread famine and industrial collapse if the HIV epidemic is not adequately addressed. He also criticised politicians for not recognising the potential for the HIV epidemic to destabilise the world. Dr Gallo is in Dublin to attend the International Conference on Human Retrovirology this week. He said scientists had been telling governments for some time of the likelihood of widespread famine and industrial collapse as a consequence of AIDS. "This will not be limited to Africa," Dr Gallo said, "and I welcome the recent report of the United States National Security Council which outlined the serious economic fallout we face from the continuing global epidemic." He also welcomed the special UN Assembly on AIDS and its commitment of substantial funding to tackle the problem. "The problem is so serious, we may need to consider direct taxation to provide a continuous flow of funds to reverse the epidemic," he said. Dr Gallo is director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland at Baltimore. A leading HIV research centre, it is now looking at new forms of AIDS treatment which will be less toxic and easier to administer. "A colleague of mine, Anthony de Vico, is making considerable progress in the area of AIDS vaccination,"said Dr Gallo. This will not be a traditional vaccine such as those used to prevent polio or measles, but a modified vaccine, which will target certain proteins involved in producing AIDS. "The institute is excited about the possibility of introducing a more biological form of treatment which can be administered two or three times a year by injection," he said. Dr Gallo said that, provided it passed regulatory tests, the new treatment should be available in five years. Referring to the unique problems surrounding AIDS in Africa and Asia, he said that issues of male domination and sexual promiscuity must be addressed as part of the solution. Ends

Aids may cause famine, industrial collapse

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