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International AIDS Vaccine Initiative supports UN AIDS ethical guidelines on AIDS vaccine trials

February 28, 2000

NEW YORK, 28 February 2000—Seth Berkley, MD, president of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), issued the following statement after UNAIDS released a new set of international ethical guidelines on AIDS vaccine research:

“An affordable AIDS vaccines is the world’s only hope for ending this terrible pandemic, especially in developing countries.

“We therefore wish to salute the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) for its leadership in developing new guidelines on the ethical conduct of AIDS vaccine clinical trials.  These guidelines will help smooth the way for urgently needed clinical trials of candidate AIDS vaccines.

“Those of us who champion the cause of AIDS vaccine development have a special responsibility to ensure that vaccine trials are conducted under the most rigorous ethical and scientific standards.  These guidelines go a long way toward helping trial sponsors and hosts confront and address the difficult issues surrounding vaccine trials.

“We are especially gratified that the guidelines concluded that there is, indeed, an international ethical responsibility to support AIDS vaccine trials.  We also agree that trial sponsors have an obligation to provide an effective vaccine to populations where trials are conducted and to other populations in need.  IAVI is currently financing the development of three AIDS vaccine candidates. In each of these cases, IAVI has secured rights to ensure that a successful vaccine will be distributed in developing countries for a reasonable price.” 

The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative is an international non-profit 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 support through advocacy and education, and encouraging industrial involvement in AIDS vaccine development.   In addition to the governments of the U.K and the Netherlands, its major supporters include the World Bank and the Gates, Rockefeller, Sloan and Starr Foundations.