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Canada Renews Support for AIDS Vaccine Research and Global Efforts Against HIV/AIDS

December 01, 2006

New York, December 1, 2006 -- The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) issued the following statement in response to the Government of Canada’s announcement on World AIDS Day of CAD$120 million in funding investments for the global fight against HIV/AIDS, including CAD$20 million over two years to support IAVI in the global quest for an AIDS vaccine.

Canada was an early champion of the AIDS vaccine effort and this funding represents Canada's fourth such grant to IAVI. Canada's first grant to IAVI began in 2001 with CAD$5 million, followed by a second grant of CAD$45 million over three years through the Canada Fund for Africa in 2003 and CAD$12 million in 2006. Additional funding will support global HIV/AIDS efforts focusing on four key areas: prevention, strengthening health systems, promoting women's empowerment and promoting children's rights.

"On behalf of IAVI, I applaud the Government of Canada and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for its continued leadership and historic financial support of global efforts to fight HIV/AIDS and to create new preventive technologies capable of ending this terrible pandemic," said Seth Berkley, President and CEO of IAVI. "We commend Canada for creating a national AIDS vaccine plan, the first for a G8 nation, which puts forth a comprehensive strategy for vaccine research, advocacy and funding, as well as for their strong support for global health, especially AIDS vaccine research and development, within the G8.

"I also want to thank the Honourable Josée Verner, International Cooperation Minister and Minister for La Francophonie and Official Languages, for her leadership and for recognizing the need for increased investment for AIDS vaccine R&D to accelerate the discovery of a vaccine," Berkley said. "This requires continuous collaboration among scientists working in both domestic and international efforts as they offer complementary strategies and activities which are critical for the field," he added.

"Canada is committed to working with our partners to improve the health of the world’s poorest people. This includes supporting the invaluable work of our partners, such as IAVI, in their efforts to develop a preventive AIDS vaccine, an essential part of our long-term comprehensive response to fighting HIV/AIDS," said Minister Verner. "There are already 37 clinical trials of preventive AIDS vaccines underway worldwide, and that’s good progress, buwe need to do more to stop this deadly epidemic."

The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is a global not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the development of safe, effective, accessible, preventive HIV vaccines for use throughout the world. Founded in 1996 and operational in 23 countries, IAVI and its network of collaborators research and develop vaccine candidates. IAVI's financial and in-kind supporters include the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The John D. Evans Foundation, The New York Community Trust, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Starr Foundation; the Governments of Canada, Denmark, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the Basque Autonomous Government as well as the European Union; multilateral organizations such as The World Bank; corporate donors including BD (Becton, Dickinson & Co.), Continental Airlines, Google Inc., Merck & Co., Inc. and Pfizer Inc; leading AIDS charities such as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Crusaid, Deutsche AIDS-Stiftung, and Until There's A Cure Foundation; other private donors such as The Haas Trusts; and many generous individuals from around the world.