Back grey_arrow_rt.gif
Nearly $6 billion needed to reach AIDS drug target
  By Patricia Reaney
LONDON (Reuters) - Nearly $6 billion will be needed to achieve the World Health Organisation's goal of providing drugs to three million AIDS sufferers in developing countries by 2005, researchers said on Friday.
That is the top end of the estimate to fund the "three by five" initiative launched in September 2003 to ensure antiretroviral therapy (ART) for patients, based on calculations for 34 countries that account for 90 percent of those in need of the life-saving drugs in poor countries.
"We estimate that between $5.1 billion-$5.9 billion will be needed by the end of 2005 ... for 3 by 5," Dr Benjamin Johns, of the WHO, said in a report in a special edition of The Lancet medical journal devoted to AIDS.
The figure includes the cost of drugs, support programmes, monitoring treatment and administrative costs.
Johns and his colleagues estimated the number of people needing treatment and support programmes for each country and the costs per patient by country to derive the total cost.
Drugs that have prolonged the lives of people in developed countries have been beyond the financial means of people in poor nations.
Access to treatment has been a major issue in the battle against the epidemic. Drug companies have agreed under pressure to lower prices of therapies to make them more affordable in poor countries.
The WHO and UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS which is spearheading the global battle against the epidemic, has declared the lack of treatment in poor countries a global health emergency.
An estimated 40 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS. Sub-Saharan Africa is the worst affected area but the epidemic is growing in China, Indonesia, Vietnam and other countries.
The WHO researchers defined people who needed treatment as those expected to die within two years without it.
WHO urges safety reviews for SARS laboratories
Last Updated: 2004-07-02 15:05:39 -0400 (Reuters Health)
MANILA (Reuters) - The World Health Organisation urged countries on Friday to review safety in laboratories after finding that this year's outbreak of SARS likely originated in China's National Institute of Virology in Beijing.
The WHO said at least four laboratory workers may have been infected with the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome at the institute at the start of an outbreak in March that killed one person and infected nine others.
"In light of the investigation, WHO believes that member states should carefully review biosafety standards and strengthen them to avoid further incidents," Shigeru Omi, regional director of WHO's western Pacific region, said in a statement.
The WHO said an inactive SARS virus was used several times in early 2004 in experiments at the Beijing laboratory when the four workers were present. China's Health Ministry said on Thursday that the outbreak originated in the laboratory.
The WHO said it would work with countries to develop strategies to strengthen safety, including a reduction in the number of laboratories storing and working on SARS. It also said scientists working with highly pathogenic viruses such as SARS needed to handle inactive material with the utmost caution.
"Disease detection systems need to be designed to take these risk factors, as well as clinical information, into account, and to be robust enough to ensure that nobody slips through the net and evades detection," it said.
SARS first emerged in southern China in late 2002 and spread around the world to infect 8,000 people in nearly 30 countries, devastating the airline and tourism industries. Nearly 800 people died.
China, hardest hit after hiding the extent of the disease in the early stages, declared victory over that outbreak in July 2003. The WHO declared this year's outbreak contained in May.


Copyright © 2004 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.
  icon paper stack View Older Articles   Back to Top