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Comprehensive New Framework to Speed and Enhance HIV Research

September 7, 2010
A new vision to accelerate the search for an HIV vaccine, developed by the Council of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise with the participation of hundreds of scientists, policy-makers, funders and advocates worldwide, was published today in Nature Medicin

A new vision to accelerate the search for an HIV vaccine, developed by the Council of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise with the participation of hundreds of scientists, policy-makers, funders and advocates worldwide, was published today in Nature Medicine. 

The Plan, the product of an 18-month collaborative process, was developed by the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, a unique alliance of independent HIV vaccine research and advocacy organizations dedicated to accelerating the development of a preventive HIV vaccine. 

Dr. Kenneth Bertram, Principal Assistant for Acquisitions at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), sits on the Council that developed the Plan. He noted, “This strategic plan fully endorses the global collaborative research model, which the Army excels at and we remain fully committed to.” MHRP, which is centered at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research within USAMRMC, is a member of the Enterprise and several Army researchers contributed to the Plan. 

The new Plan provides a forward-looking framework to speed the development, execution and analysis of HIV vaccine trials; better integrate pre-clinical and clinical research; more effectively capitalize on scientific advances from other fields; and bring new researchers and new funders to the global effort to develop a safe and effective HIV vaccine. 

“We are at an important moment in the 27-year journey to develop an effective vaccine against HIV,” said Alan Bernstein, PhD, executive director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise. “Last year, the RV144 trial in Thailand provided the first evidence that a vaccine can prevent HIV acquisition. Recent discoveries such as the isolation of broadly neutralizing antibodies are informing new strategies for vaccine design, while powerful new technologies are significantly advancing our understanding of HIV infection and the human immune system. These scientific advances, coupled with a new spirit of global collaboration in HIV vaccine research and the ambitious roadmap provided by the Scientific Strategic Plan of the Enterprise, point to a new era of great progress in the search for an HIV vaccine.” 

The Army-sponsored RV144 trial, which concluded in 2009, showed that an investigational HIV vaccine regimen was safe and modestly effective in preventing HIV infection. The study was led by the Army and made possible by an international collaboration involving numerous partners from the Thai and U.S. governments, private companies, non-profit organizations and more than 16,000 volunteers. 

Copies of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise Scientific Strategic Plan and the reports of the Plan Working Groups are available at www.vaccineenterprise.org.