ELEANOR HALL: Now to developments on another vaccine project.
It is now 30 years since AIDS first identified and fear of the disease spread worldwide along with the infection.
Dr Seth Berkley has now been working for more than half of that time to develop a vaccine against the virus.
Dr Berkley is the CEO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and when he spoke to me from New York, he said that in just the last year he has seen several leaps in the science that give him hope that an effective vaccine is within reach.
SETH BERKLEY: Over the last few years there's been more positive data than, you know, over the many years before that. And I think the answer is yes, we are much closer to a vaccine.
ELEANOR HALL: So tell us about some of this positive data.
SETH BERKLEY: There's been a number of breakthroughs that have occurred recently. The first I would say is an AIDS vaccine that worked. There was a trial in Thailand, vaccine modest efficacy, around 31 per cent. Since then we've seen a microbicide for women, which had a protection in a trial in South Africa, 39 per cent. We saw using antiretrovirals to stop prevention in men who have sex with men - that was in a study called iPrEx - 44 per cent.
And now we've found anti-bodies that neutralise all the strains in the world and the challenge is, how can we now go and proactively immunise somebody, give them something that will make these antibodies? If we could do that, then we would have a vaccine.
ELEANOR HALL: If you have results that show that these vaccines work for less than half the people are you then able to increase the potency of the vaccine or do you have to accept that it will always only work for that certain segment of the population?
Read more here: http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2011/s3219079.htm