Applauding HIV Elimination Goals and Encouraging More Resources Toward Vaccine Development
ATLANTA, GA, Feb. 06, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- via NEWMEDIAWIRE -- GeoVax Labs, Inc. (OTCQB: GOVX). During Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, President Donald Trump asked Congress to support his goal of eliminating the HIV epidemic in America within 10 years. GeoVax’s President and CEO, David Dodd, responded today.
“We applaud President Trump for using such a high-profile setting to bring attention to the continued HIV epidemic in the United States,” Mr. Dodd commented. “Tremendous strides have been made in HIV awareness and treatment over the past three decades. However, despite the availability of effective HIV medications and the best efforts of community education and prevention programs, the tide of new HIV infections has not been reversed.
“Under current plans championed by top health officials, the spread of HIV might be slowed down through expansion and re-focusing of current prevention and treatment efforts, but the strategy will be doomed to failure without an effective vaccination program as a central focus. It is disheartening to recognize that many public policy leaders appear to be satisfied that HIV in the United States is now a chronic, treatable condition… our society deserves and ought to demand more. Much like the polio and smallpox eradication efforts, it will take a vaccine to eliminate HIV.”
Burden on the U.S. Taxpayer
Mr. Dodd stated, “More than 1.1 million people in the United States are infected with HIV, with nearly 40,000 new infections each year. Based on President Trump’s FY2018 budget request, the U.S. government is spending a staggering $26.6 billion each year for domestic HIV/AIDS programs, less than 10% of which goes toward medical research (even less for vaccines). Without a vaccine or immunotherapy cure for HIV, the financial burden to U.S. taxpayers will continue to increase each year with no end in sight.”
Call for a New Mindset for HIV Vaccine Development
“GeoVax has the leading preventative HIV vaccine candidate designed to fight against the subtype of HIV prevalent in the United States,” Mr. Dodd continued. “We have benefited from U.S. government support for our human clinical trials, and we have the greatest respect for the many individuals at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) who have worked on our vaccine program.
“However, the progress of our HIV vaccine development has been hampered by governmental financial constraints, contributing to a risk-averse attitude held by many public policy officials… a resistance to commit financial and other resources toward rapidly advancing experimental programs such as ours. Our program is moving forward with NIH support, and for that we are thankful; but the pace could be much quicker.
“In his budget proposal to Congress, I encourage President Trump to make vaccine development a central pillar of his HIV elimination strategy, and to take lessons from the private sector by encouraging calculated risks by public health policy decision-makers. Our country should set higher goals for addressing the U.S. HIV epidemic, ones that seek a cost-effective eradication approach and not just expensive and never-ending chronic disease management.”
GeoVax Labs, Inc., is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing human vaccines against infectious diseases using its patented MVA-VLP vaccine platform. GeoVax was the winner of the 2018 “Best Biotech” Vaccine Industry Excellence Awards, a finalist for the 2018 “Best Prophylactic Vaccine” Award for its Zika vaccine at the World Vaccine Congress, as well as a finalist for Pipelines of Promise at Buzz of Bio 2018. The Company’s development programs are focused on vaccines against HIV, Zika, hemorrhagic fever viruses (Ebola, Sudan, Marburg and Lassa) and malaria. GeoVax also is evaluating the use of its MVA-VLP platform in cancer immunotherapy, and for therapeutic use in chronic Hepatitis B infections and in treating Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infections. GeoVax’s vaccine platform supports in vivoproduction of non-infectious VLPs from the cells of the very person receiving the vaccine. The production of VLPs in the person being vaccinated mimics virus production in a natural infection, stimulating both the humoral and cellular arms of the immune system to recognize, prevent, and control the target infection. For more information, visit https://www.geovax.com.
Certain statements in this document are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. These statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. Actual results may differ materially from those included in these statements due to a variety of factors, including whether: GeoVax can develop and manufacture its vaccines with the desired characteristics in a timely manner, GeoVax's vaccines will be safe for human use, GeoVax's vaccines will effectively prevent HIV or Ebola infection in humans, vaccines will receive regulatory approvals necessary to be licensed and marketed, GeoVax raises required capital to complete vaccine development, there is development of competitive products that may be more effective or easier to use than GeoVax's products, GeoVax will be able to enter into favorable manufacturing and distribution agreements, and other factors, over which GeoVax has no control. GeoVax assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements and does not intend to do so. More information about these factors is contained in GeoVax's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission including those set forth at "Risk Factors" in GeoVax's Form 10-K.
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