Political and health leaders from Russia said they could develop an AIDS vaccine in the next 10 or 15 years, Russian wire service RIA Novosti reported (en.rian.ru, 7/10).

During a RIA Novosti TV link between Moscow and New Delhi, the Russian deputy head of the human well-being, science and research, Marina Shevyreva, said Russia could produce a vaccine.

On the same TV link, B.S. Banerji, MD, of the Indian Health Ministry, said India could have a vaccine on a similar timeline.

The Russian government has spent about $43 million for an HIV/AIDS vaccine.

“We have vaccine candidates, but there is still a lot of work to do,” said Alexander Goliusov, the HIV/AIDS controller for the country's consumer rights regulator. “We could expect a vaccine within the next 10 to 15 years.”

Goliusov said that three research centers in Russia had been added to a vaccine development team and a group of HIV-positive patients in St. Petersburg had already been selected for tests.

The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimated last November that there were 1 million HIV-positive people in Russia. The country’s chief doctor, Gennady Onishchenko, said that only 403,000 HIV cases had been registered in Russia since 1987, when the first HIV case was reported there.

India, a nation of about 1.15 billion people, has more than 5 million people living with HIV/AIDS, according 2001 estimates in the CIA World Factbook.