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Plans for the creation of a new US$5-billion fund to co-ordinate research into a vaccine against AIDS are being put together by a coalition of leading scientists in the field.

Key figures behind the proposal are reported to include Harold Varmus, president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and Richard Klausner, head of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, according to the journal Science.

The proposed initiative is still at the "preliminary discussion phase", according to Esther Carver of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The coalition soon aims to publish an outline of its proposal to encourage debate on its ideas.

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