NEW YORK, NY, April 30, 2009 — TIME magazine has named Dr. Seth Berkley, President and CEO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), one of this year’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.” Berkley, a medical doctor and infectious disease epidemiologist, is joined by world leaders, icons, thinkers, visionaries and others whose ideas and actions are transforming the world. On the list of 100, Berkley joins the likes of Gordon Brown, Paul Kagame, Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy, Ted Turner and Oprah Winfrey.
Raised in New York City, Berkley became interested in science at an early age, building his first lab in his closet at age 12 using the samples that were the unofficial earnings from his first job at a chemical company. A graduate of the medical school at Brown, Berkley has worked in more than 25 countries, including stints as an epidemiologist in Brazil and Uganda, where he first encountered AIDS on a major scale. He has worked for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Carter Center and the Rockefeller Foundation, from which, in 1996, he founded the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring development of a preventive AIDS vaccine accessible to everyone.
Thirteen years later, it’s clear IAVI has been a game-changer. In part because of IAVI’s advocacy, worldwide spending on AIDS vaccine development has risen from a few hundred million dollars in 1996 to close to US$1 billion today. And IAVI’s own AIDS vaccine R&D program is second in size only to that of the government’s National Institutes of Health.
Combating AIDS continues to be one of the leading global challenges today. AIDS is the number four killer in the world, number one in sub-Saharan Africa. Some 33 million people are living with HIV, and the pandemic is spreading at the alarming rate of 7,500 new infections per day. That’s one new infection every twelve seconds. A preventive vaccine offers the best hope for ending the AIDS pandemic.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who has known Berkley for almost a decade, has special insight into IAVI’s CEO and the mark he is leaving on the world. Brin, who authored Berkley’s feature in TIME, writes: “Since early in his career, Berkley has dedicated himself to fighting suffering around the world…However, the work that Seth is known for now, at IAVI, is his most important contribution. While it is impossible to predict health technology going forward or the social and economic factors that affect the spread of HIV, it is clear that IAVI holds much potential to eradicate a great source of death and misery around the world.”
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 and operational in 24 countries, IAVI and its network of collaborators research and develop vaccine candidates. IAVI was founded with the generous support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Starr Foundation, and Until There's A Cure Foundation. Other major supporters include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, The John D. Evans Foundation, The New York Community Trust, the James B. Pendleton Charitable Trust; the Governments of Canada, Denmark, India, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the Basque Autonomous Government, the European Union as well as The City of New York, Economic Development Corporation; multilateral organizations such as The World Bank; corporate donors including BD (Becton, Dickinson & Co.), Bristol-Myers Squibb, Continental Airlines, Google Inc., Henry Schein, Inc., Merck & Co., Inc., Pfizer Inc, and Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.; leading AIDS charities such as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS; other private donors such as The Haas Trusts; and many generous individuals from around the world. For more information, see www.iavi.org.
About Dr. Seth Berkley
Seth Berkley, MD, is President, CEO and Founder of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), a not-for-profit organization, operational in 24 countries, working to ensure the development of safe, effective, accessible, preventive HIV vaccines for use throughout the world. Berkley is a medical doctor specializing in infectious disease epidemiology and international health. Prior to founding IAVI in 1996, Dr. Berkley was an officer of the Health Sciences Division at The Rockefeller Foundation. He has worked for the Center for Infectious Diseases of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Carter Center, where he was assigned as an epidemiologist to the Ministry of Health in Uganda to help develop its National AIDS Control programs. Dr. Berkley is an adjunct professor at Brown, Columbia and New York universities, has authored more than 85 publications and frequently serves as a media commentator on health technology development, AIDS and global health issues. He received undergraduate and medical degrees from Brown University and trained in internal medicine at Harvard University.