Friday, February 27, 2009

$100 Million Donated to Finding AIDS Vaccine

This month, Phillip Terrence Ragon and his wife, Susan, pledged $100 million to create a new institute to develop an AIDS vaccine. The Ragon Institute will draw in scientists from MGH, Harvard, and MIT, with AIDS specialist Dr. Bruce D. Walker at the helm. Ragon travelled with Dr. Walker in 2007 to Durban, the South African city where about 60 percent of pregnant women coming to clinics in and around Durban were infected with HIV, and one-third of their babies were born with the virus. Ragon, a high-tech tycoon "was as excited by the immense possibilities as he was shocked by the suffering he saw." Says Dr. Walker of South Africa and the AIDS situation: ""Every time I go there I see opportunities for us to do something that can have a significant impact. It keeps pulling me back...For the amount of effort and investment, the impact is so great in terms of being able to make a difference."
Source: Boston Globe