October 25, 2013
HIV-AIDS: much accomplished, much to do
Achieving an AIDS-free World: Science and Implementation
NEW YORK – The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) welcomes the reaffirmation of the “paramount” importance of a vaccine to ending the AIDS pandemic, and the realistic appraisal of the challenges to achieving this imperative, as outlined by Anthony S. Fauci and his colleagues at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in recent commentaries in Nature Immunology, Cell and in The Lancet.
“As Dr. Fauci has repeatedly stressed, the essential quest for an AIDS vaccine is a marathon, not a sprint, and it requires sustained time, talent and resources,” said IAVI President and Chief Executive Officer Margaret McGlynn.
As the authors note, the field has made significant progress to date and there are some bright hopes looking forward. These include plans to build upon the vector prime and protein boost concept, and the identification of a range of potent and broadly neutralizing antibodies which, singly and in combination, can potentially neutralize nearly all the HIV strains circulating around the globe today.
Efficacy trials in Thailand (RV144) showed that a vaccine based on the vector prime and protein boost concept could prevent HIV infection, albeit modestly. Follow-on trials in Thailand and South Africa starting in 2016 will aim to confirm these results in different populations and geographies.
“We are learning more and more about the evolution of HIV by geography and in the body; the responding maturation of broadly neutralizing antibodies, and the structure of the HIV envelope protein which these antibodies must target,” said IAVI Chief Scientific Officer Wayne Koff. “These insights will help us develop future vaccine candidates that can induce antibodies to protect broadly from HIV infection.”
Together with our partners, IAVI continues to develop and advance vaccine candidates and to foster the support and sustainable commitment that will help lead to a safe, effective and accessible vaccine and to a world without AIDS at last.