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Aids Thursday, 30 September, 1999, 20:59 GMT 21:59 UK
UK millions fight Aids and polio
Clare Short announced a 35m boost for disease prevention
A programme which aims to produce a vaccine for HIV has been boosted by a 14m contribution from the UK Government.

Conference99
International Development Secretary Clare Short announced the investment at the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth.

She also announced a 20m investment to assist in the eradication of polio from countries in which mass immunisation is difficult to organise.

"Ten years ago a young child became paralysed by polio every 40 seconds - now the prospect of its eradication from the world is within our grasp."

The International Aids Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), is attempting to speed up scientific developments and galvanise support within the drugs industry and among governments.

IAVI is focusing on vaccines that would be cheap to manufacture, easy to transport and administer, and would require few inoculations, thus making it useable in developing countries.

Millions are dying each year in Africa from Aids
In some parts of Africa, the disease has reduced average life expectancy by decades, and left hundreds of thousands of children orphaned.

Ms Short told the conference: "The science indicates that it should be possible to produce a vaccine in the next five or six years.

"Commercial motives alone will not provide a vaccine for the poor - the market they create is not big enough. That is why we are supporting partnerships between governments and the private sector to ensure that we do produce a vaccine for Africa."

Over 95% of all new HIV infections occur in the developing world - with over six million new infections each year.

Worldwide, 2.5m people died from the disease in 1998 - it is the leading cause of death in Africa.

Most pharmaceutical developments are aimed at extending the lives of those already infected with HIV.

Polio programme

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is in the middle of a campaign which aims to eradicate polio from the developing world by a programme of country-wide immunisation days and public education.

Polio, which can kill or leave the sufferer permanently disabled, has been virtually wiped out in many developing countries, and the WHO deadline for global success is the end of the year 2000.

See also:

18 Jun 99 | Health
13 Aug 99 | Health
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