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Why is it so hard to make a vaccine for HIV? Plus, why RSV infections came early this year.

Virus Outbreak Pediatric Vaccines
Ted S. Warren/AP
Deni Valenzuela, 2, is held by her mother, Xihuitl Mendoza, in a waiting area after Deni was given a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shot. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

December is HIV/AIDS Awareness month. How far has treatment and prevention come? Why is there still no vaccine against HIV, when it was possible to develop a vaccine against COVID so quickly? What is it about the human immunodeficiency virus that has thwarted scientists for almost 40 years?

For that, we turn to Dr. Robert Gallo, who the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and co-founded the Global Virus Network.

Then, infections and hospitalizations for RSV - respiratory syncytial virus - caught hospital systems across the country off guard. A Maryland Department of Health dashboard tracking RSV shows hospitalizations climbed rapidly from September to October, soaring from the high thirties to a peak of 263. In the last week of November, hospitalizations were down to 76 children.

We speak with Dr. Jason Custer, medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, and an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Maureen Harvie is senior producer for On the Record. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and joined WYPR in 2014 as an intern for the newsroom. Whether coordinating live election night coverage, capturing the sounds of a roller derby scrimmage, interviewing veterans, or booking local authors, she is always on the lookout for the next story.