August 21, 2013
NEW YORK – The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is pleased to announce the renewed commitment from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), which has confirmed a grant to IAVI of £1 million ($1.57 million) annually for the next five years.
“We are grateful to the U.K. Government for having been a long standing partner and supporter,” said Margaret McGlynn, IAVI’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “The government’s continued trust in and financial support for IAVI will help ensure the development of preventive HIV vaccines that are safe, effective and accessible to all. Vaccines remain among our most effective and efficient tools for combating infectious diseases and can bring particular value to vulnerable populations, including women and children.”
Together with the contributions of other governments as well as foundations and other philanthropic supporters, DFID investments over the last 15 years have already helped IAVI to build a comprehensive portfolio of AIDS vaccine approaches and candidates. This includes a particular emphasis on HIV types affecting developing countries, and on novel approaches such as broadly neutralizing antibodies to overcome the enormous variability of HIV and its capacity to hide from the body’s immune system. Furthermore, this funding has helped to establish lasting partnerships and capacity for research in countries most affected by HIV and AIDS, including establishing laboratories and clinics for medical research and providing training for scientists and healthcare workers across Africa. Much of that research has been coordinated by IAVI’s U.K.-based laboratory at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, in collaboration with Imperial College London. Over the next 5 years, the funding from the U.K. Government will allow IAVI to bring together expertise from academia and the pharmaceutical sector, and from across regions, including the U.K. and Eastern and Southern Africa, to collaboratively design and evaluate novel vaccine candidates, with the aim to deliver proof that at least one can be fully developed into an effective vaccine to help prevent HIV infection or AIDS.
Worldwide, more than 34 million people are living with HIV, and almost 7,000 are newly infected each day. The financial costs of combatting this pandemic remain substantial, with billions of dollars needed every year for treatment, prevention and other related healthcare costs. An AIDS vaccine is needed to stop new HIV infections and reduce suffering and financial costs associated with the pandemic. While the development of such a vaccine remains challenging, progress in research has shown that it is possible for a vaccine to reduce the risk of HIV infection in humans. Recent modeling studies suggest that once a vaccine is available and used in combination with other proven interventions, new HIV infections can be reduced towards zero more quickly, saving lives and money over the long term.
The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is a global not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the development of safe, effective, accessible, preventive HIV vaccines for use throughout the world. Founded in 1996, IAVI works with private companies, academics and civil society partners in 25 countries to research, design and develop AIDS vaccine candidates. In addition, IAVI conducts policy analyses and serves as an advocate for the AIDS vaccine field. IAVI supports a comprehensive approach to addressing HIV and AIDS that balances the expansion and strengthening of existing HIV-prevention and treatment programs with targeted investments in the design and development of new tools to prevent HIV. IAVI is dedicated to ensuring that a future AIDS vaccine will be available and accessible to all who need it. IAVI relies on the generous donations from governments, private individuals, corporations and foundations to carry out its mission. For more information, please visit www.iavi.org.