May 18, 2001
NEW YORK, 18 May 2001—The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) announced today the launch of a global online campaign to mobilize support for the development of an AIDS vaccine.
"With 15,000 new infections each day, we cannot afford to delay," said Seth Berkley, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of IAVI. "While a preventive vaccine for AIDS offers the best hope of ending the pandemic, a broad-based global movement is necessary to help overcome the scientific, political and economic challenges that lie ahead."
Visitors to http://www.iavi.org can sign a Global Call for Action, which will be presented at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in New York on June 25-27; volunteer for trials underway; and learn more about IAVI's efforts to accelerate the development and delivery of a preventive AIDS vaccine for the world.
Today, International AIDS Vaccine Awareness Day, IAVI begins a banner campaign on Yahoo! (http://www.yahoo.com), consisting of a series of four banner ads linked to IAVI advocacy splash pages. Yahoo!, the first major corporate sponsor to back IAVI, pledged US$ 5 million over three years at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January. "AIDS is a devastating global problem and we are pleased to lend the power of our global network to IAVI to help find a solution," said Murray Gaylord, Vice President of Brand Marketing, Yahoo!.
"Yahoo!'s generous support will provide channels for a growing online activist community to help accelerate the effort to develop and assure access to an AIDS vaccine and change the course of history," added Dr. Berkeley. "We hope that other corporations will follow Yahoo's example and make a commitment."
AIDS, the world's number one cause of death among infectious diseases, killed 500,000 children and 2.5 million adults last year, according to the World Health Organization and UNAIDS. Despite existing prevention efforts, last year 600,000 children and 4.6 million adults became infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The pandemic is a global health catastrophe, and has reversed decades of social and economic progress in sub-Saharan Africa and is spreading rapidly in India, China and the former Soviet Union. Recent scientific advances make it increasingly likely that a vaccine of at least limited efficacy will be ready within a decade.
IAVI has two vaccine candidates already in human trials and is supporting five more vaccines that are heading toward human trials. The organization has committed to sponsoring the development of eight to 12 vaccine candidates over the next five to seven years.
The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative is an international 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 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 to a vaccine once it is developed.
IAVI is a collaborating center of UNAIDS. IAVI's major supporters include the Bill & Melinda Gates, Rockefeller, Sloan and Starr Foundations; the World Bank; and governments of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Canada, Ireland and the United States.
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