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IAVI Welcomes Dutch Government Grant for AIDS Vaccine Development

July 07, 2000

DURBAN, South Africa, 7 July 2000—Seth Berkley, M.D., president of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), issued the following statement in response to the announcement of a second grant to IAVI from the Netherlands. The new grant of 45 million guilders over four years brings the total commitment from the Dutch government to 50 million guilders.

"We are grateful for the Dutch government's expanded commitment to IAVI. A vaccine is the world’s best hope for ending the global pandemic, but no single country or organization will accomplish this goal alone. We salute the Dutch government’s vision in furthering their commitment to HIV prevention, by making such a serious commitment to AIDS vaccine development. This gift will allow IAVI to expand its scientific program to fast-track the development of promising AIDS vaccine strategies.

"It is especially appropriate that news of this gift comes on the eve of the World AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, where AIDS vaccines for the developing world will be highlighted. The Netherlands has a long history of collaboration with developing countries and has taken a leadership role in global HIV prevention efforts."

The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is a nonprofit scientific organization founded in 1996 whose mission is to ensure the development of safe, effective, accessible, preventive HIV vaccines for use throughout the world. IAVI's work focuses on three areas: accelerating scientific progress, mobilizing public support through advocacy and education, and encouraging industrial involvement in AIDS vaccine development. IAVI draws most of its funding from governments, foundations and multilateral institutions. Its major donors include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Starr Foundation, and the Sloan Foundation; the World Bank; and the governments of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Canada.

IAVI's scientific program seeks to maximize the number of promising vaccine candidates in clinical trials. Promising approaches lacking commercial sponsorship are prioritized and identified for funding by IAVI's Scientific Advisory Committee. At the heart of the scientific program is the Vaccine Development Partnership, a collaborative model that links scientists in industrialized and developing countries. IAVI provides funding, technical expertise, project management, and regulatory guidance to move promising approaches into clinical trials as rapidly as possible.

IAVI's research focuses on vaccines that would be most useful in developing countries. These vaccines would be inexpensive to manufacture, easy to transport and administer, stable under field conditions and require few doses. IAVI has also negotiated agreements with its partners to help ensure that vaccines will be made available in developing countries at just above the cost of manufacture. IAVI calls this approach "social venture capitalism." Unlike traditional venture capitalists, who seek equity in return for their investments, IAVI seeks a commitment that the vaccine, if successful, will be provided to the poor in developing countries at a reasonable price.