A web initiative was launched today in the US to help researchers tackle the continuing spread of Aids across the world.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has teamed up with the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) with the aim of building a website that will become a worldwide hub of knowledge about the disease.
Researchers, practitioners and patients everywhere will be able to access the site and view peer-reviewed papers and results of tests. New information on how to beat the spread of Aids will be propagated around the world using the unique connectivity of the web.
Paul Volberding, Professor of Medicine at UCSF, said it is vitally important that the latest intelligence on new techniques to combat the virus gets heard globally. "Working with the global epidemic of HIV from our base so close to Silicon Valley, we can't help believing that this type of information distributed worldwide will have a major impact on vaccine development. We hope this serves as the beginning of a new era of internet-facilitated collaboration."
Using a US Government grant of $850,000, a number of existing specialist medical sites will be linked and built into a portal, complete with daily research news, search engines and academic resources.
Technical know-how to build the new portal will come from US web technology group Mednav.com. UCSF already has a specialist site for medical professionals, called HIVinSite, which currently gets around four million hits a month from over 150 countries around the world. HIVinSite will combine with the AAAS site dedicated to HIV/Aids research at www.Sciencemag.org/NAIDS.
The AAAS site is already up and running as part of the cyber presence of the Academy's authoritative and learned journal, Science.
Ellen Stover, director of the US National Institute of Mental Health, the government agency funding the website, said: "Using the web to share information is of vital importance for addressing the challenges faced by web researchers. This new service should help promote prevention by speeding up the information exchange process."
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