Experts Call for 'New Era' of Unified HIV Vaccine Research

HIV vaccine researchers, public health officials, advocates, and funders came together at the XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010) on Monday, July 19, to review recent progress in vaccine development and call for a "new era" of rapid exploration of promising approaches with increased collaboration and funding. Many obstacles remain, speakers acknowledged, but the field also has some encouraging recent leads, including findings from a Thai trial that showed the first-ever -- albeit modest -- evidence that a vaccine can reduce the risk of HIV infection in humans.

Below is a press release issued by the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise urging renewed commitment to vaccine research.

Experts Describe a "New Era" in HIV Vaccine Research at the XVIII International AIDS Conference

Scientific Advances and the Increasing Global Need for Effective HIV Prevention Place a New Focus on HIV Vaccines in Vienna

Vienna, Austria -- July 19, 2010 -- Significant new scientific advances in HIV vaccine research, including the partial efficacy of a vaccine regimen tested in Thailand and the discovery of new broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV, have focused renewed attention on the promise of HIV vaccines at the XVIII International AIDS Conference. Inspired by new scientific leads and the overwhelming need for improved HIV prevention approaches, stakeholders of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise meeting here today, called for a "new era" in HIV vaccine research, marked by the rapid exploration of new research approaches and increased collaboration and funding for HIV vaccine research and development worldwide.

"With more than 2.7 million people worldwide newly infected with HIV every year, the need for safe and effective HIV vaccines is greater than ever," said Dr. Peter Piot, director of the Institute for Global Health at Imperial College, and chair of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise Council. "We are now in one of the richest phases in HIV vaccine research since the beginning of the epidemic. Following up on each of the most promising advances in HIV vaccine research will require appropriate funding, high levels of collaboration and information sharing and the full support of researchers and governments around the world."

"The swift development of an AIDS vaccine depends on the close cooperation of researchers and advocates working in a number of sectors of society," said Dr. Seth Berkley, founder and chief executive officer of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative. "For example, academic researchers often have brilliant ideas, but it is through partnership with industry that these ideas are translated into products suitable for human use. Today, we are in the midst of a renaissance in AIDS vaccine research: consider the recent discovery of a trove of antibodies that neutralize a broad spectrum of HIV variants and expose new targets for vaccine design. To take full advantage of such discoveries, we must work together-and open our minds to new ideas from outside the field."

Supporting improved collaboration, information sharing and scientific priority-setting among HIV vaccine research organizations and funders worldwide is the focus of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise. A new Enterprise document released here, The Road to Prevention, outlines the major scientific challenges for the field in this new era of HIV vaccine research and includes clear recommendations to accelerate research progress moving forward. The Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise will also release a comprehensive Scientific Strategic Plan for the field at the AIDS Vaccine 2010 conference this September in Atlanta, USA.

"To enter a new era of HIV vaccine development we must unify different stages of HIV vaccine research into a single scientific agenda, increase rapid data sharing and research decision making and, importantly, increase both the human and financial resources dedicated to the HIV vaccine endeavor," said Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise Executive Director, Dr. Alan Bernstein. "HIV vaccines are a vital component of comprehensive efforts to control this epidemic, and our commitment to research must reflect the central role a vaccine will play in one day ending AIDS."

"Globally, HIV affects the poor, young people, women and girls in greatly disproportionate numbers," said Dr. Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE USA and chair of the U.S. Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. "A safe and effective HIV vaccine is essential to improved human health and development worldwide. The commitment to developing safe and effective vaccines against this epidemic must remain a top priority for the United States and for every other nation that can contribute funding, expertise and political and institutional commitment to this cause."

Copies of The Road to Prevention are available at:

About the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise
The Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise is a unique alliance of independent organizations around the world dedicated to accelerating the development of a preventive HIV vaccine. The Enterprise, comprised of top research, funding, advocacy and other stakeholder organizations, develops and drives implementation of the Scientific Strategic Plan for HIV vaccine development. Enterprise stakeholders set shared research agendas, create new structures for information sharing, develop new tools to harmonize global research efforts, and bring new organizations, expertise and resources to the challenge. For more information, please visit


Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise. Experts Describe a "New Era" in HIV Vaccine Research at the XVIII International AIDS Conference. Press release. July 19, 2010.