December 07, 1999
Grant to Help Speed the Development of AIDS Vaccines
NEW YORK, 7 December 1999—The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) announced today that its campaign to develop a preventive AIDS vaccine for the world's poorest countries was given a boost by a 5 million guilder (US$2.3 million) grant from the Netherlands.
Dr. Seth Berkley, president of IAVI, said that the grant, the second major government commitment to the organization, is an important milestone in the effort to accelerate the development of globally accessible AIDS vaccines. Noting that the Netherlands has a long history of collaboration with developing countries and has played an important leadership role in global HIV prevention efforts, Dr. Berkley said, "We salute the Dutch government's vision in furthering their commitment to HIV prevention, by helping to fund the development of AIDS vaccines."
Speaking on behalf of Eveline Herfkens, Minister of Developmental Collaboration, Hans Moerkerk, AIDS coordinator for VWS and Ontwikkelingssamewerking said that the Ministry plans continued support of IAVI. He added, "The Dutch Government expects that IAVI will play a leading role in vaccine development and welcomes the collaboration between AIDS Fonds and IAVI."
Peter van Rooijen, Director of AIDS Fonds, IAVI's partner in the Netherlands, said, "the Netherlands is ready for IAVI. The grant from Minister Herfkens means that there is public support. The collaboration between AIDS Fonds and IAVI means that there is support from the private sector. We will continue to work with IAVI to strengthen support for AIDS vaccine development in Europe."
"The development and deployment of an affordable vaccine represents the world's best hope for stemming the pandemic. IAVI is committed to moving promising AIDS vaccine approaches forward as quickly as possible. In June of this year we convened a scientific think tank in Amsterdam, bringing together leading European scientists to identify promising vaccine approaches," said Jaap Goudsmit, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of IAVI's Scientific Advisory Committee and Head of the Department of Human Retrovirology at the University of Amsterdam.
"Smallpox was eradicated thanks to a vaccine," said Dr. Berkley. "Polio will soon follow. We welcome the Dutch government's commitment to AIDS vaccine development and call upon other nations to join the effort. Without political leadership and adequate resources, a vaccine against AIDS will continue to elude us."
In the face of 15,000 new infections each day, 95% of them in the developing world where there is little access to treatment, IAVI is calling on governments to join a crash program to speed the development of a globally accessible AIDS vaccine in the shortest time possible.
At the heart of IAVI's scientific program is the Vaccine Development Partnership, a collaborative model that links scientists in industrialized and developing countries with those in private industry. IAVI provides funding, expert support, and guidance to move a promising vaccine approach from the idea stage into clinical trials as rapidly as possible. IAVI's first two Vaccine Development Partnerships link scientists in the U.K. and Kenya, and the United States and South Africa, respectively. IAVI is currently exploring new collaborations linking academic and biotech industry vaccine designers in the U.S. and the European Union with clinical researchers in India, China, and Africa.
IAVI's Scientific Blueprint for AIDS Vaccine Development, a global strategic plan to speed the development of a vaccine, estimates that a crash program to develop a preventive vaccine would cost between US$350 million and $500 million over the next seven years. The Dutch government's grant follows a £14 million (US$23 million) commitment from the United Kingdom announced last September. Thus far, IAVI has secured commitments totaling more than US$77 million over the next five years to advance promising new vaccine concepts. The organization is working to raise an additional US$70 million by the end of 2001.
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 political support through advocacy and education, and encouraging industrial involvement in AIDS vaccine development. IAVI works closely with UNAIDS, the World Bank, the EC and other partner organizations in industrialized and developing countries. For more information, visit www.iavi.org.
Aids Fonds (Stichting Aids Fonds) is an independent, non-profit organization based in Amsterdam (The Netherlands). Aids Fonds was established in 1985. Aids Fonds' mission is to contribute to the global fight against HIV/AIDS through fund-raising, funding and education (communication) on a national and an international level. Next to the private goals, Aids Fonds is carrying out administrative and executive public tasks (co-ordination, stimulation, advocacy in public information and education). The public tasks are executed on request of the Ministry of Health, Welfare & Sports. The incomes of Aids Fonds therefore exist out of private funds (through collections, legacies, corporate giving, raffles, individual donations and investments -- US$5 million) and public funds (through the Dutch Government -- US$4 million). The funding activities of Aids Fonds are focused on scientific research, direct individual support, care, prevention, education and projects in developing countries. Funding activities are structured on the basis of an annually updated workplan. In the summer of 1999, the support of vaccine development has been reconfirmed by the Board of Stichting Aids Fonds as one of its policy and funding priorities.