USAID Partner IAVI Makes Groundbreaking HIV/AIDS Discovery

For Immediate Release

Thursday, September 3, 2009
USAID Press Office

Washington, DC - The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) congratulates its partner, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) for its recent findings that may bring the scientific community a bit closer to an HIV vaccine. The results allow scientists to understand the dynamics of naturally occurring protective mechanisms that some people have against HIV.

Throughout the course of the study entitled, "Protocol G: A Cross Sectional Study to Screen For and Generate Broadly Neutralizing Monoclonal Antibodies from HIV Infected Individuals," scientists discovered that some people who are exposed to HIV have created antibodies that effectively block or neutralize the virus. These promising findings point to important clues that will inform on-going work to design a vaccine against HIV.

USAID and IAVI have been in a cooperative agreement since 2006 to accelerate the discovery of an AIDS vaccine. With the support of USAID, IAVI was able to test over 1,800 HIV positive individuals in several developing countries leading to the discovery of these highly effective antibodies that create immunity against many strains of HIV.

The findings, which were published in the journal Science, provide critical information that is sure to shape vaccine research in the future.

USAID's Office of HIV/AIDS commends IAVI on its diligent and insightful success and is proud to have supported them in this exciting work.

"We are delighted with IAVI's promising and novel achievements; if there is one thing USAID understands, it's the importance of setting long range goals," said David Stanton, division chief in USAID's Office of HIV/AIDS. "Translating these findings into an actual vaccine will surely take time and much more work, but IAVI's Protocol G provides important insight into what a vaccine might look like so it can effectively instruct the immune system to produce these powerful antibodies."

About USAID's Response to HIV/AIDS

Since the inception of its HIV/AIDS program in 1986, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has been on the forefront of the global AIDS crisis, investing more than $7 billion to fight the pandemic. Today, with more than 33 million people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, USAID is a key partner in the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the largest and most diverse HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment initiative in the world.

About USAID's Support of IAVI

Since 2001, USAID has funded the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), a nonprofit organization that acts as a virtual pharmaceutical company to accelerate the development and clinical testing of HIV vaccine candidates. This support is an important part of U.S. Government (USG) efforts to address the pandemic from every conceivable direction. IAVI facilitates collaboration among universities, governments, and private-sector groups to ensure that the appropriate resources are available for each phase of product development.

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