Gates Foundation Funds Major Collaboration to Accelerate HIV Vaccine Development

SEATTLE, (PRNewswire) – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced 16 grants totaling $287 million to create an international network of highly collaborative research consortia focused on accelerating the pace of HIV vaccine development.

The grants will support a range of innovative approaches for designing an effective HIV vaccine, and bring together more than 165 investigators from 19 countries to tackle some of the biggest scientific challenges facing the field.

Eleven consortia will focus on vaccine discovery, applying new scientific knowledge and cutting-edge research techniques to create and evaluate novel vaccine candidates. These consortia will be linked to five central laboratories and data analysis facilities, enabling investigators to openly share data and compare results, and allowing the most promising vaccine approaches to be quickly prioritized for further development.

“An HIV vaccine is our best long-term hope for controlling the global AIDS epidemic, but it has proven to be a tremendously difficult scientific challenge,” said Dr. Jose Esparza, senior advisor on HIV vaccines for the Gates Foundation. “We have all been frustrated by the slow pace of progress in HIV vaccine development, yet breakthroughs are achievable if we aggressively pursue scientific leads and work together in new ways.”

To date, most HIV vaccine research has been conducted by small teams of investigators working independently. While important research gains have been made, there is growing recognition that these efforts need to be supported by new large-scale, collaborative projects that can produce definitive answers to complex scientific questions.

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