Special Correspondent

It was unlikely that there would be one before 2015, says Nobel laureate

HYDERABAD: Nobel laureate and a leading immunologist Peter Doherty on Friday expressed scepticism that any of the 30 vaccines undergoing trials would provide absolute protection against AIDS. There was a possibility of a few of them giving partial protection but there was no surety of that either.

He shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1996 along with Swiss colleague Rolf Zinkernagel for their discovery of how the immune system recognises virus-infected cells.

Talking to reporters after delivering the third Burnet Lecture on "Plagues, Pestilences and Influenza" at the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics here on Friday, he said, "We need new intellectual insights... new way of doing things (for achieving a breakthrough)". Even if a successful vaccine were to be developed, it was unlikely that there would be one before 2015.

He said that it was important to keep the focus on good public health policy and encourage safe behaviour.

He said that 30 new diseases occurred since 1979 due to increase in human population, moving into forest areas, pressure on agriculture land and lifestyle changes.

Earlier delivering the lecture, he said that science could help find solutions but cannot be a substitute for poor public health policy, degraded infrastructure and lack of public openness.