The present U.S. AIDS research effort is incapable of bringing the AIDS
crisis to an end. Therefore, the federal government must take extraordinary
steps to remove all barriers to the development of cures. President Clinton
has called for a "Manhattan Project for AIDS." We demand that
Congress enact legislation to implement such an all-out effort as follows:
I. A declaration of the dire urgency of the international AIDS pandemic and the need for immediate, rapid, focused steps towards curing AIDS.
II. The establishment of the AIDS Cure Project, jurisdictionally separate from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and reporting to but not directed by the President through a special liaison.
The Project shall have the following mandates:
1. The Project's goal will be to find a cure for AIDS, with cure being defined to include "any and all approaches which will ensure a well-functioning immune system and a normal life span with a reasonable quality of life." To that end, it will have two missions:
a. to pursue comprehensive basic science investigations, based on diverse theories and schools of thought which elucidate the pathogenesis of AIDS,
b. to identify, based on this work, all promising curatives and to oversee their timely and adequate testing through the extraordinary powers detailed in section 4 below.
2. In order for the Project to achieve its goals, its work must be carried out in the most efficient and cooperative manner possible, free of private interests and bureaucratic red tape. To this end,
a. The Project shall establish a primary location for its work. All primary research staff will work at that location; contributing researchers located around the world will interact via video teleconferencing, an international computer network, and regularly scheduled facetoface meetings.
b. The NIH's existing AIDS research programs will be maintained. All NIH basic science research supplementary to that done by the Project will be performed cooperatively with the Project.
c. All primary research staff and administrators shall be financially compensated only by the Project and may not have conflicts of interests with private organizations (including but not limited to universities, pharmaceutical companies, private research organizations, etc).
d. The Project shall be funded by public - not private - monies. Appropriations for the Project shall not be diverted from other health care or human service programs.
e. The Project will be governed by, not merely advised by, a council composed of scientists and clinicians representing divergent approaches, and people with AIDS and HIV, and their advocates, from all affected communities. This council will set policy and oversee research priorities, ethical standards, conflict of interest rules and hiring of researchers, consistent with 3a below. [
f. The project shall, in addition to basic research investigations, operate an on-site clinic to conduct small scale research trials with human participants in such trials are crucial for testing hypotheses related to its basic research.
3. To ensure that the most open and productive research paths are pursued, and to produce a cure accessible to and usable by all affected people:
a. Thorough consideration shall be given to both conventional and other medical approaches and scientific theories, and researchers representing divergent approaches shall be on the primary research staff as well as be contributing researchers.
b. The Project's study of AIDS pathogenesis and manifestations must focus on all populations of people with AIDS and HIV. Equal consideration shall be given to the differences between these populations as to their similarities or "norms." This includes women, children, gay men, lesbians, people of color (of various affected nationalcultural groups), injection drug users, prisoners, hemophiliacs and people with inadequate medical care and/or nutrition.
c. Basic science investigations and therapeutic results will be geared to people at every point on the spectrum of AIDS and HIV - form the sickest to the healthiest. Saving people considered "near death" must be considered as important as early intervention.
d. Information generated by the Project shall be made freely available to researchers, health care providers, people with AIDS and HIV and their advocates as soon as it is available, without being inhibited by professional publication practices.
e. Curatives ultimately released due primarily to project research shall not result in financial gain to any private organization, and shall be made available to all affected people regardless of ability to pay.
4. In order to accomplish its goals, the Project shall have extraordinary powers to:
a. direct the utilization of any and all existing U.S. government funded research entities and their facilities to clinically test promising cures developed on the basis of its research and to direct the manner in which such research shall proceed, including staffing, participants, location and timing. Such research will be funded by the AIDS Cure Project.
b. exercise the right of eminent domain to:
5. A seed budget must be allocated immediately to be used for project planning (including creating facilities, selection of staff, funding, structure and schedules), so that the Project can begin functioning as soon as possible.