AIDS and tuberculosis are two of the world's most serious infectious diseases. There are now over 30 million people living with HIV/AIDS.
In many European countries the number of new cases of AIDS has declined
over the last five years because of widespread use of preventive methods
combined with new treatments. However, a vaccine is still out of reach
and defeating the virus that causes AIDS is proving to be a difficult
TB is often thought of as a 19th century disease, but it is re-emerging
as a health problem in Europe and other parts of the developed world.
This is partly because the bacterium that causes it has become resistant
to many antibiotics and partly because the BCG vaccine, although widely
used, protects only half the people who receive it.
European researchers are combining several approaches to develop an
effective AIDS vaccine and to produce better drugs to treat people at
various stages of the disease. A number of projects are being funded
by the EU to find out more about the disease by following up thousands
of HIV-infected people in 16 different European countries; others are
concentrating on the biology of the virus itself.
Europe-wide prevention strategies are being exploited to the full and
central facilities to help AIDS researchers develop and test new potential
vaccines are already up and running. A European network for the treatment
of AIDS is coordinating large clinical trials to assess the usefulness
of compounds not currently being tested by researchers in individual
European Vaccine against AIDS
The EVA (European Vaccine against AIDS) programme supplies reagents
for the development of AIDS vaccines of different types for use in
clinical trials and studies all over Europe.
... and tuberculosis
TB is on the increase again. It is a common infection in people who
have AIDS. Three European projects are exploring new ways of making
vaccines against Mycobacterium tuberculosis which causes TB.