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HIV pandemic is 'a real possibility': Expert

Written by: QMI AGENCY
May. 26, 2014

HIV virus. (Wikimedia commons)


A new HIV pandemic is “a real possibility,” one of the world’s leading authorities on infectious diseases said Friday.

Prof. Jeremy Farrar is warning that a rise of drug resistant strains of the virus could “reverse progress made since the 1980s” in combating the disease.

Farrar, who is the director of the global research foundation the Wellcome Trust, told The Independent it was “inevitable” that resistance to HIV would increase because it was a virus which could easily mutate.

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“We [also] need to ensure we continue to develop new compounds rather than become complacent about the existing drugs we have,” he told the paper. “A vaccine is also crucial to ensure we do not have to rely on our current prevention and treatment options. But an HIV vaccine will be incredibly difficult.”

In an article for the journal Nature published Friday, Farrar and Prof. Mark Woolhouse called for the establishment of a “powerful global organization” similar to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to coordinate the worldwide response to the threat of anti-microbial resistance.

Scientists have warned for years that the rise of AMR risks undoing a century of medical progress with routine operations and cancer treatments becoming deadly because of the risk of infection.

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