USAID Announces Two New Awards for HIV Vaccine and Biomedical Prevention Research

The research and development of an HIV vaccine and other methods of biomedical prevention are critical to achieving an AIDS-free generation. Photo credit: Tobin Jones/Chemonics

Despite the impressive expansion of HIV care and treatment, the HIV epidemic remains a serious global health threat: 36.9 million people are currently living with HIV; nearly half of the 25.8 million people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are women; and 50 young women are infected with HIV every hour. A preventive HIV vaccine is needed now more than ever.

The development and testing of novel HIV vaccine candidates for global use is a key priority for U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Office of HIV/AIDS; so, too, is building advocacy, communications, and policies to support biomedical HIV prevention research and development (R&D) more broadly. The addition of new biomedical tools like a preventive vaccine and microbicides is critical to creating an AIDS-free generation through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the world’s largest commitment to combat a single disease. For nearly 2 decades, USAID has committed itself to supporting HIV vaccine R&D through building the capacity of African scientists to engage in vaccine R&D in their own countries, while developing strategic partnerships with other funders.

As USAID marks 15 years of continuous dedication toward supporting the search for a safe and globally effective HIV vaccine, the Agency is pleased to announce the recent awarding of the 5-year HIV Vaccine and Biomedical Prevention Research Project, with an award ceiling of $180 million, through two complementary awards. Award One focuses on conducting preclinical and clinical HIV vaccine R&D while strengthening local capacity. Award Two supports advocacy, literacy, policy, communications, community engagement, and regulatory activities for biomedical HIV prevention R&D globally with a particular focus in low- and lower middle-income countries.

After a full and open competitive procurement process, USAID is pleased to announce the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) as the recipient of Award One and AVAC as the recipient of Award Two.

These two awards will enable late-stage design and testing of improved HIV vaccine candidates. They also support unique activities that will help bring us closer to a vaccine while enhancing the capacity of African scientists and engaging effective communities through strategic partnerships – all factors that are critical to ensuring the sustainability and highest impact of USAID’s investments, even beyond the realm of HIV and AIDS.

USAID is confident that IAVI and AVAC will approach the next phase of HIV vaccine research and advocacy for biomedical HIV prevention R&D through a development lens that especially focuses on the countries and communities experiencing the most impact by this ongoing epidemic.

USAID is clear that the search for an HIV vaccine must be sustained until this definitive tool is available and added to the cadre of PEPFAR-supported interventions to bring a durable end to HIV and AIDS, once and for all.

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