Wednesday, December 1, 2021

CNBC explains how HIV research led to COVID-19 vaccines for World AIDS Day, a double pandemic update

For World AIDS Day, I'm combining my coverage of pandemics as I did last year. CNBC explains the connections between HIV vaccine research and COVID-19 vaccines in Why The HIV Vaccine Is Closer Than Ever.

Every Dec. 1, the world commemorates those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Known as World AIDS Day, it serves as a reminder that there has been an ongoing pandemic for the past 40 years, pre-dating Covid.

The Covid vaccines were sequenced, developed and approved in the U.S. in record time, but that would not have been possible without decades of work by HIV researchers.

“Almost everybody working on Covid vaccines comes from the HIV world,” said Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC, a global advocacy group for HIV prevention. “Moderna had been working on mRNA-based HIV vaccine before SARS-CoV-2 was even known to exist.”
While I feel it would be somewhat tasteless to wish my readers a happy World AIDS Day, I can at least share some news that is cause for optimism as well as an example of how basic research ended up paying off for a different problem. It shows that science may not always deliver what one expects of it, but even seeming failures can be valuable just the same. Here's to World AIDS Day 2022 bringing more good news.

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