Wie sich die HIV/AIDS-Forscher begegnen

GENF – Laut einem berühmten Ausspruch von Benjamin Franklin ist eine Unze Vorbeugung genau so viel wert wie ein Pfund Behandlung. Aber bei der Forschung über Infektionskrankheiten ist dies nicht immer wahr. Obwohl sich Wissenschaftler traditionell entweder auf die Vorbeugung oder auf die Behandlung konzentrieren, müssen sie – und ihre Finanzierer – für den Kampf gegen den HIV/AIDS-Virus beide Seiten beachten.

Durch Fortschritte bei Prävention und Behandlung sind die jährlichen HIV Infektionen im letzten Jahrzehnt um ein Drittel zurückgegangen, und die Sterbefälle durch AIDS in den letzten fünf Jahren um 30%. Und trotzdem sind immer noch 35 Millionen Menschen mit dem Virus infiziert. Im letzten Jahr gab es 2,1 Millionen Neuinfektionen und 1,5 Millionen Todesfälle durch AIDS. Sogar im besten Fall, bei einer Maximierung bestehender Prävention und Behandlung, gäbe es bis zum Jahr 2050 in Ländern niedrigen und mittleren Einkommens jährlich immer noch mindestens eine halbe Million neue HIV-Infektionen.

Um die Krankheit in den Griff zu bekommen, braucht die Welt einen Impfstoff und ein Heilmittel, und in beiden Bereichen werden große Fortschritte gemacht. Aber obwohl sich die Forschung in diesen beiden unterschiedlichen Feldern zu überlappen beginnt, sehen sich immer noch zu viele Wissenschaftler entweder der einen oder der anderen Seite zugehörig.

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