Pattaya locals briefed on HIV vaccine development


City officials and healthcare professionals outlined the latest efforts to develop a vaccine for Human Immunodeficiency Virus on HIV Vaccine Awareness Day in Pattaya.

Udom Likitwanwuth, an advisor to the global AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, and Lt. Gen. Sornchai Nittayapan, were the lead speakers at the May 18 event at Central Festival Pattaya Beach.

(L to R) Lt. General Dr. Sornchai Nittayapan, Principal Investigator of the Echo Project; Udom Likitwanwuth, advisor to Avac; and Lt. Nikos Karasawa from the Department of Retrovirology (US) were the guest speakers during the seminar about HIV Vaccine development.

HIV Vaccine Awareness Day is observed annually to provide an opportunity to recognize and thank volunteers, community members, health professionals and scientists working toward a safe and effective HIV vaccine. It also is a day to educate communities across the nation about the importance of vaccine research.

The event also included a seminar on the direction of HIV vaccine development by members of the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences’ Pattaya office.

City councilmen Rattanachai Sutidechanai and Banjong Banthoonprayuk present certificates of appreciation to people who helped raise awareness on HIV Vaccine Awareness Day.

Udom said HIV vaccine development has been challenging. However, the goal of developing a safe and effective vaccine that helps bring about an end to the HIV/AIDS pandemic is an overarching research priority.

Sornchai said there are many vaccines that act as a barrier to fight off the opportunistic viruses that can ravage an HIV-weakened patient. But there remains no vaccine for the virus itself.

However, he said, research continues as the virus continues to change.