Chapter 29: Rockefellers AIDS Drugs And Vaccine

Merck began AIDS drug research in 1986, yielding two medicines. There are more potential HIV/AIDS therapies in their "pipeline," including an investigational vaccine. (176)

The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is a global organization working to speed the development and distribution of preventive AIDS vaccines. Its "President and Founder" is Dr Seth Berkley.

Professor J.J. Bwayo, Professor Andrew McMichael and Dr. Seth Berkley

Prior to founding the initiative, Dr. Berkley was Associate Director of the Health Sciences Division at The Rockefeller Foundation.

Born in January 1996, the organization has four strategies. I quote:

1. To create global demand for a vaccine. ... to get the drive for an AIDS vaccine back onto all agendas, whether political, media, scientific or whatever.

2. To create an aggressive applied science program to help move ideas from the research stage into accelerated clinical testing ... it is critical that we ensure that vaccines are tested in humans.

3. To try to create a better environment for industrial investment in AIDS vaccines ... to drive the creation of incentives for industry.

4. To ensure global access. ... to ensure that, when a vaccine is made, the systems are in place to have simultaneous availability in the north and south, which of course has never been done for any vaccine. (177)

IAVI is now capitalized at slightly more than a quarter of a billion dollars. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed $126.5 million. (178)

Vaccine making is big bucks these days. Thirteen days after 9-11, the Pentagon announced plans to develop 15 new vaccines at a cost of $3.2 billion over 12 years. The Defense Department determined it needs not only a new anthrax vaccine but also at least 13 other new vaccines, including serum for small pox, next-generation anthrax, the plague, three varieties of equine encephalitis, coxiella burnetii, Tularemia, botulinum toxin, staphlococcyl enterotoxin b, ricin and brucella. The project would nearly double the number of vaccines available in the world. Just 20 vaccines are commercially available. Merck Pharmaceuticals, the largest private producer, manufacturers nine of them. (179)

According to Merck's website, Merck's "approach to business," it's "fundamental value system" that helps "translate how we spend our research dollars" is driven by a statement from a 1950 speech in which George W. Merck stated that "medicine is for the people, not for the profits. If we remember that the profits will follow." (180)

Profits follow even more when you forget about the people, as Merck's various million-dollar virus "make-work-projects" proves.


(176) - See also





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