May 11, 2015

HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, research news, and more...

HVAD 2015 Header v2

An HIV vaccine will be transformative.

Adding a safe, effective and accessible vaccine to the HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment arsenal will make a world of difference to the millions of men, women and children whose lives remain at risk from this disease.

On 18 May, we commemorate HIV Vaccine Awareness Day and reiterate US President Bill Clinton’s historic declaration that: Only a truly effective, preventive HIV vaccine can limit and eventually eliminate the threat of AIDS.

IAVI staff and partners worldwide will support and participate in HIV Vaccine Awareness Day events across Africa, India, Europe and North America.

“Today, IAVI stands proudly alongside our many partners around the world – fellow researchers, doctors, nurses, advocates, community workers, trial volunteers – to publicly reaffirm our commitment to overcoming one of history’s greatest scientific challenges,” said IAVI President & CEO Margie McGlynn. “Science and innovation are bringing us closer and closer to an AIDS vaccine. Our work will continue, until there is a vaccine.”


to witness the dedication of some of the HIV vaccine field’s leading lights.

Click here to read IAVI CSO Wayne Koff's overview of HIV vaccine R&D in The Scientist.

Click here to read thoughts from IAVI India Director Rajat Goyal in Air India's inflight magazine.

J&J Mosaic Study to Start in Africa
Two IAVI partner Clinical Research Centers (CRCs) – the Uganda Virus Research Institute-International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (UVRI-IAVI) HIV Vaccine Program and Projet San Francisco in Rwanda – will begin enrolling volunteers in June in a Phase I/IIa trial testing mosaic immunogens, in which the most frequent sequences from various HIV strains are recombined in an effort to elicit broad T-cell responses. The trial is being run by a consortium led by Johnson & Johnson and including J&J/Janssen, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Ragon Institute and the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP); IAVI is providing scientific and operational input as well as protocol development and regulatory strategy. Testing began at U.S. sites in 2014.
Half a Million More People in Africa Now Know Their HIV Status
With support from IAVI, CRC partners have reached a half million people with HIV testing in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia and South Africa since 2004. The voluntary testing and counseling are provided through IAVI-sponsored HIV vaccine trials and within the Epidemiology for Vaccine Advancement, Capacity and Science (EpiVACS) program, which prepares for future trials and collects epidemiological data on HIV incidence and prevalence to help inform design of an AIDS vaccine appropriate for Africa.
Two Studies Reach Milestones
Enrollment completed this month in a study to assess if and how common parasitic infections affect the immune response induced by HIV vaccination (using a DNA plus protein regimen). In February, participants began their one-year follow-up visits in the Community HIV Epidemiological and Socio-behavioural Study (CHESS) at UVRI-IAVI in Entebbe, which aims to understand why incidence and prevalence are much higher among Uganda’s Lake Victoria fishing community residents than the general population.
The five-state East African Community (EAC) included HIV research in its five-year Regional Strategic Framework on HIV/AIDS, TB, and STIs, launched in March with development support from IAVI.
IAVI helped train clinical staff in South Africa and Kenya on working with men who have sex with men, and the VISTA partnership welcomes researchers from participating centers in Africa and India to workshops in East Africa on the advanced use of two technologies critical to vaccine research (flow cytometry and epitope mapping.) And in July, IAVI will host a symposium in India exploring design and implementation of epidemiology studies among people with early HIV infection in India and Africa.

The India Translational Health Science and Technology (THSTIIndia Lab 02b)-IAVI HIV Vaccine Translational Research Laboratory, a three-year-old joint venture between IAVI and the Government of India, with 20-plus scientists working on HIV immunogen design – moved into a permanent home in the Biotech Science Cluster of THSTI in Faridabad.

IAVI Board Chair Alex Coutinho joined a World Health Summit Coutinho Japan 02panel on global health R&D in Kyoto in April, and with CEO Margie McGlynn hosted a Tokyo roundtable on the hopes and challenges of ending AIDS.

Defeating the VirusThe Scientist 1 May 2015.

Understanding Adherence to Daily and Intermittent Regimens of Oral HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Among Men Who Have Sex with Men in KenyaAIDS and Behavior May 2015.

Cleavage-Independent HIV-1 Env Trimers Engineered as Soluble Native Spike Mimetics for Vaccine DesignCell Reports 28 April 2015.

An Efficiently Cleaved HIV-1 Clade C Env Selectively Binds to Neutralizing AntibodiesPLoS One 25 March 2015.

Comprehensive Antigenic Map of a Cleaved Soluble HIV-1 Envelope TrimerPLoS Pathogens 25 March 2015.

High Frequency of Transmitted HIV-1 Gag HLA Class I-Driven Immune Escape Variants but Minimal Immune Selection over the First Year of Clade C Infection, PLoS One 17 March 2015.

Primate immune responses to HIV-1 Env formulated in the saponin-based adjuvant AbISCO-100 in the presence or absence of TLR9 co-stimulation, Scientific Reports 11 February 2015.

Emerging themes for sensitivity training modules of African healthcare workers attending to men who have sex with men: a systematic review, Int Health 16 January 2015.


IR Cover

The new IAVI Report features news from CROI, the nexus between contemporary art and HIV research and progress in understanding how HIV's structure can be utilized to engineer better vaccine candidates.

VAX in March also reports on CROI, notably developments in pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and the characteristics and importance of herd immunity in vaccination.

A special HVAD issue of VAX profiles these five prominent women scientists who are leading global HIV research and vaccine development efforts in the U.S., Australia, and Africa: Linda-Gail Bekker, principal investigator and chief operating officer, Desmond Tutu HIV Centre in Cape Town; Deborah Birx, global AIDS coordinator in charge of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief; Sharon Lewin, director, Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne; Nelly Mugo, principal research scientist, Kenya Medical Research Institute; and Galit Alter, principal investigator, Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital.

IAVI announced in March that Margie McGlynn will step down as President and CEO and that a search for her successor is underway.