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Presidential Council on AIDS Prioritizes Accelerated Vaccine Development

September 22, 2000

Calls for Expanded R&D Tax Credits and New Funding for IAVI

WASHINGTON, DC, 22 September 2000—Seth Berkley, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), issued the following the statement in response President Clinton's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS's final report, "No Time to Spare," which is to be presented to the President today.

"The President's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) has been a strong and consistent voice for sound public health policy during the Clinton Administration.

"PACHA's final report, "No Time to Spare," is a clarion call for U.S. leadership to combat the global pandemic. We applaud PACHA for prioritizing vaccine development and for its strong call for the U.S. government to join other governments in funding IAVI. We echo PACHA's call for expanded tax credits to encourage AIDS vaccine development and deployment.

"With 15,000 new infections every day, there is indeed no time to spare. Much can be accomplished during the President's final days in office and in the waning days of this Congress. There can be no such thing as a lame duck when confronting a global pandemic of this magnitide.

"A vaccine is the best long-term hope for ending this pandemic. PACHA recognizes this by making action on vaccines the number one agenda item for President Clinton for his last days in office. We echo PACHA's call for the enactment of tax credits to encourage research, development and sales of AIDS vaccines, and are encouraged by strong bipartisan leadership in Congress and the Administration. Congress must enact, and the President must sign, the Vaccines for the New Millenium Act, reintroduced this week by Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. John Kerry.

"We also echo and are grateful for PACHA's call that the Administration support expanded funding of public-private partnerships, including IAVI, that are accelerating AIDS vaccine development. Since its inception in 1996, IAVI has won multi-year, multimillion dollar support from the governments of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Ireland, and Canada; the World Bank; and the Gates, Rockefeller, Sloan and Starr Foundations.

"Congress unanimously authorized $10 million U.S. contributions to IAVI for each of fiscal 2001 and 2002 in the recently enacted Global AIDS and Tuberculosis Relief Act, and we call upon the Administration and the Congress to fully fund these authorizations during upcoming budget negotiations."

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. Two IAVI-sponsored vaccines, both specifically created to address the epidemic in Africa, were recently approved for human testing.

IAVI's work focuses on four areas: accelerating scientific progress, mobilizing support through advocacy and education, encouraging industrial involvement in AIDS vaccine development, and assuring global access. IAVI is a collaborating center of UNAIDS. Its major donors include the governments of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Canada and Ireland, the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, and the Starr Foundation.