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EU, IAVI Strengthen Joint Efforts to Develop and Distribute AIDS Vaccines

April 26, 2001

Joint statement by the European Union and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative
At the occasion of the African summit on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases
26 April 2001, Aubja, Nigeria

The European Union (EU) and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), on the occasion of this important gathering of African and international leaders, wish to announce the strengthening of joint EU-IAVI efforts to confront the AIDS pandemic in developing countries.

The EU and IAVI consider that this summit will substantially raise global awareness on the need for AIDS vaccines and that the event offers an opportunity to broaden our alliances in support of the development of an AIDS vaccine for developing countries.

Preventative AIDS vaccines provide the best hope for ending the AIDS pandemic in the long term. The strengthening of the EU-IAVI partnership reflects our common goal: to promote the accelerated development of AIDS vaccines and to ensure that they are available to people in developing countries as rapidly as possible.

Investment and promotion of new international public goods—such as AIDS vaccines—are an integral part of a balanced approach as outlined in the European Union’s new Policy and Programme for Action on "Accelerated Action on Major Communicable Diseases within the context of poverty reduction" This new policy defines a comprehensive approach to increase the impact of existing interventions, increase the affordability of key pharmaceuticals and to accelerate investment in new R&D for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.

The EU and IAVI will collaborate closely in accelerating the development and availability of AIDS vaccines for developing countries. To this end the EC and IAVI have agreed to strengthen their operational partnership, the first steps of which will include the following:

IAVI will formally join in the work of the EC AIDS Vaccine Task Team and provide technical input to the further development of the EC’s AIDS vaccine strategy. This will include collaboration on regulatory issues and incentives to develop and ensure access to AIDS vaccines in developing countries.

IAVI and the EC will work together to accelerate R&D programs for AIDS vaccines and to organize effective public/private support to clinical trial platforms.

IAVI and the EC share concerns on community involvement and the safeguarding of ethical standards during trials. They will work together with developing countries to build capacity and ensure adequate vaccine preparedness in advance of large-scale clinical trials.

The EC and IAVI will build upon, and expand, existing collaborations such as the joint project in South Africa. The integration of IAVI technical expertise and on the ground experience into the EU country programs will bring added benefits to both partners.

The EC and IAVI have common partners in several EU Member States, UN organizations and developing countries and will work together with these various partners to promote and develop AIDS vaccines for developing countries.

About the African AIDS summit
The African Summit on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Other Related Infectious Diseases is being held 24-27 April in Abuja, Nigeria, and is sponsored by the Organization for African Unity (OAU) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

About IAVI
The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is an international nonprofit scientific organization founded in 1996 whose mission is to ensure the development of safe, effective and accessible preventive HIV vaccines for use throughout the world. IAVI’s work focuses on four areas: creating global demand for AIDS vaccines through advocacy and education; accelerating scientific progress; encouraging industrial involvement in AIDS vaccine development; and assuring global access. Two IAVI–sponsored vaccines developed for Africa are already in clinical trials, and IAVI is committed to moving other candidate vaccines for developing countries into clinical trials as quickly as possible. IAVI is a UNAIDS collaborating center. Its major donors include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Sloan Foundation and the Starr Foundation; the governments of the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, Canada and Ireland; and the World Bank.