July 09, 2002
BARCELONA, XIV International AIDS Conference, 9 July 2002—The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) outlined a new, intensified research and development agenda that the organization and its worldwide partners are undertaking to expedite the development of vaccines to prevent HIV/AIDS, focusing on those tailored for use in the developing world.
Building upon IAVI’s 1998 Scientific Blueprint and Scientific Blueprint 2000, the agenda details a comprehensive strategy to complement ongoing public and private sector efforts by markedly and rapidly expanding the pipeline of promising candidate AIDS vaccines in final-stage human efficacy trials, today numbering just one. In the agenda, IAVI pledges to accomplish four principal activities:
Identifying and addressing the primary challenges still impeding AIDS vaccine development, including scientific as well as manufacturing and trials issues;
Improving the pipeline of vaccine candidates advancing through human trials, especially those that are specifically applicable for use in the developing world;
Accelerating a promising candidate vaccine to Phase III human efficacy trials within the next three years, on the premise that although this vaccine may be only partially effective, it still could significantly slow the epidemic; and
Ensuring that second generation AIDS vaccines are also accelerated to efficacy testing, and that they provide improvement over first generation candidates.
In particular, the agenda calls for fast-tracking an IAVI-sponsored AIDS vaccine candidate, named DNA-MVA and developed by a partnership with the University of Oxford and University of Nairobi, into Phase III trials by 2004, contingent on its meeting milestones in additional studies over the next two years. This vaccine is now in intermediate Phase I/II trials.
“Since the creation of IAVI in 1996, the pipeline of candidate vaccines has widened, and greater public and private sector resources are directed at AIDS vaccine development,” said Dr. Wayne Koff, IAVI’s Senior Vice President for Research and Development. “However, the stepped-up efforts have not kept pace with the spread of the HIV pandemic. More than 65 million people have been infected with HIV since the beginning of the pandemic, and 25 million have died. The sad fact remains that, after 21 years of AIDS, not a single vaccine candidate has been fully tested for efficacy in humans.”
Other major initiatives in IAVI’s agenda include:
Establishing a consortium of the world’s leading laboratories to design AIDS vaccines capable of eliciting neutralizing antibodies against globally diverse strains of HIV, a five-year, multi-million-dollar program also launched in Barcelona;
Forging partnerships with major vaccine companies for development, large-scale manufacturing and distribution of the most promising vaccines in ways that meet the needs for delivering these products to the developing world.
Building partnerships with national and transnational agencies for conducting efficacy trials of the most promising vaccines in the developing world; and
Committing IAVI to initiation of efficacy trials of a total of three promising candidate AIDS vaccines—DNA-MVA plus two yet-to-be-determined approaches—in the developing world by 2007.
“Our aim is to ensure that safe and effective AIDS vaccines are developed, tested, licensed and made available where they are needed most as soon as possible,” Dr. Koff said