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Gates Foundation
funds HIV vaccine collaboration

Gates Foundation
funds HIV vaccine collaboration

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Wednesday announced 16 grants totaling $287 million to create an international network of highly collaborative research consortia focused on accelerating the pace of HIV vaccine development. The grants will support a range of innovative approaches for designing an effective HIV vaccine, and will bring together more than 165 investigators from 19 countries to tackle some of the biggest scientific challenges facing the field.

"An HIV vaccine is our best long-term hope for controlling the global AIDS epidemic, but it has proven to be a tremendously difficult scientific challenge," said Jose Esparza, senior adviser on HIV vaccines for the Gates Foundation, in a press statement. "We have all been frustrated by the slow pace of progress in HIV vaccine development, yet breakthroughs are achievable if we aggressively pursue scientific leads and work together in new ways."

The grants will establish 11 consortia focusing on vaccine discovery, applying new scientific knowledge and research techniques to create and evaluate novel vaccine candidates. These consortia will be linked to five central laboratories and data analysis facilities, enabling investigators to openly share data and compare results and allowing the most promising vaccine approaches to be quickly prioritized for further development.

"These projects bring a new level of creativity and intensity to bear on major scientific challenges facing HIV vaccine development," Nicholas Hellmann, acting director of the Gates Foundation's HIV, TB, and Reproductive Health program, said in a press statement. "Some of the vaccine concepts that will be pursued have been talked about for years but have never been adequately studied. If successful, they could lead to entirely new paradigms for HIV vaccine development." (The Advocate)

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