The Group of Seven industrialized nations on Friday plans to sign an agreement to provide 1.5 billion dollars to develop vaccines for diseases -- including HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria -- that largely affect developing countries, the government of Italy announced on Tuesday, Reuters reports. Under the program, donor countries will pledge to buy vaccines that are being developed at a preferential price when they are available (Vagnoni, Reuters, 2/6). This would create a financial incentive for drug companies to develop vaccines for diseases that largely affect developing countries, Bloomberg reports (Krause-Jackson, Bloomberg, 2/6). Canada, Italy, Norway and the United Kingdom plan to make funding pledges on Friday. According to Italian government sources, Italy plans to pledge $500 million; the United Kingdom is expected to pledge $400 million; and Canada and Norway are expected to pledge $200 million each, Reuters reports. Officials from the G7 countries plan to explain the program to Pope Benedict XVI on Friday ahead of the G7 meeting in Essen, Germany, according to the Italian economy ministry (Reuters, 2/6). Leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized nations at their summit in July 2006 did not act on an opportunity to adopt a similar advance market commitment plan aimed at funding the development of vaccines for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/19/06).

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