NIH steps up HIV research

September 1, 2000

Pharmaceutical Representative

The National Institutes of Health announced the formation of the international HIV Prevention Trials Network to develop and test promising non-vaccine strategies to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. The global initiative will explore alternative measures, besides AIDS vaccines, that may be able to block or reduce infection with HIV. The network will constitute NIH's largest comprehensive multicenter network dedicated to this task, comprising core operational, data and laboratory centers, as well as research sites located worldwide in Africa (Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe), Asia (China, India and Thailand), Europe (Russia), South America (Peru) and the United States.

The National Institutes of Health announced the formation of the international HIV Prevention Trials Network to develop and test promising non-vaccine strategies to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. The global initiative will explore alternative measures, besides AIDS vaccines, that may be able to block or reduce infection with HIV. The network will constitute NIH's largest comprehensive multicenter network dedicated to this task, comprising core operational, data and laboratory centers, as well as research sites located worldwide in Africa (Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe), Asia (China, India and Thailand), Europe (Russia), South America (Peru) and the United States.

"We must investigate all potential strategies to stop HIV transmission, including microbicides and other biomedical and behavioral interventions," said Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "The HPTN strengthens our capability to discover new and better measures to protect people, especially children and women, from HIV infection."

Public, private cooperation

The NIH also announced four public-private partnerships intended to accelerate development of promising HIV/AIDS vaccines for use around the world. The new partnerships, called HIV vaccine design and development teams, will tap the different skills and talents of private industry and academic research centers, and provide incentive to move HIV/AIDS vaccine candidates out of the laboratory and into human testing. NIAID has committed to spending approximately $70 million over the next five years on the four development team contracts that have been awarded to Advanced Bioscience Laboratories Inc., Kensington, MD; Chiron Corp., Emeryville, CA; University of New South Wales, Australia; and Wyeth Lederle Vaccines and Nutrition, Pearl River, NY.

"Many vaccines in use today resulted from both government-sponsored and private research," said Fauci. "The HVDDT program is a unique addition to this model that encourages the private sector to increase their AIDS vaccine efforts while allowing NIAID to work closely with its partners throughout the development process."

HVDDT awards are incentive-based contracts aimed at vaccine candidates in the middle of the development pipeline - those not yet in clinical testing. Applicants were required to describe a clear development plan, including timelines to indicate when different phases would be completed. Funding will be provided in increments as these preset milestones are reached. PR

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