Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise Publishes Plan to Expand Research

The Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise -- an alliance of researchers, advocates, and funding sources around the world dedicated to accelerating development of a preventive HIV vaccine -- this week released a new plan for faster and more efficient research. The Enterprise Scientific Strategic Plan, published in the September 2010 issue of Nature Medicine, aims to translate recent advances in the field into "faster, smarter and more productive" vaccine research.

Below is the text of a Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise press release summarizing the strategic plan. The full plan is available on the group's website at www.hivvaccineenterprise.org.

Comprehensive New Framework to Speed and
Enhance HIV Vaccine Research Released

The Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise Scientific Strategic Plan, Published in Nature Medicine, Presents a Detailed Strategy to Expand Recent Progress in HIV Vaccine Research; More than 400 Scientists Worldwide Participated in the Plan Development

New York, NY -- September 7, 2010 -- A new vision to accelerate the search for an HIV vaccine, developed by the Council of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise with the participation of hundreds of scientists, policy-makers, funders and advocates worldwide, was published today in Nature Medicine. The Scientific Strategic Plan of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise provides a forward-looking framework to speed the development, execution and analysis of HIV vaccine trials; better integrate pre-clinical and clinical research; more effectively capitalize on scientific advances from other fields; and bring new researchers and new funders to the global effort to develop a safe and effective HIV vaccine.

The Plan, the product of an 18-month collaborative process involving input from more than 400 researchers, policy-makers, funders and advocates worldwide, was developed by the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, a unique alliance of independent HIV vaccine research funding, policy and advocacy organizations dedicated to accelerating the development of a preventive HIV vaccine. The strategy released today is a full update of a Scientific Strategic Plan developed in 2005. That Plan substantially reshaped the field, leading to the creation of new initiatives to address longstanding scientific and organizational obstacles in HIV vaccine research, and helping to promote many of the scientific advances that have brought the goal of a safe and effective HIV vaccine closer today.

The new Scientific Strategic Plan seeks to build rapidly on recent progress in the field by tackling the most significant barriers to HIV vaccine research. The Plan is informed by detailed reports on specific challenges and opportunities in the field developed by five Working Groups created by the Enterprise Science Committee.

"We are at an important moment in the 27-year journey to develop an effective vaccine against HIV," said Alan Bernstein, PhD, executive director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise. "Last year, the RV144 trial in Thailand provided the first evidence that a vaccine can prevent HIV acquisition. Recent discoveries such as the isolation of broadly neutralizing antibodies are informing new strategies for vaccine design, while powerful new technologies are significantly advancing our understanding of HIV infection and the human immune system. These scientific advances, coupled with a new spirit of global collaboration in HIV vaccine research and the ambitious roadmap provided by the Scientific Strategic Plan of the Enterprise, point to a new era of great progress in the search for an HIV vaccine."

"HIV/AIDS is a catastrophic global epidemic, and a vaccine is a top global health priority," said Peter Piot, MD, PhD, incoming director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and chair of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise. "With 33 million people living with HIV, 50,000 new infections each week and only two in five people in need receiving HIV treatment, the need for a vaccine that can help slow and one day end this epidemic has never been greater."

"There has been notable progress in the quest to identify an effective HIV vaccine. The new Enterprise Scientific Strategic Plan will further catalyze the collaborative research necessary to build on recent advances and bring a safe and effective HIV vaccine closer to reality," said Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

The Scientific Strategic Plan provides a timely set of priorities and recommendations to build on the progress of the last five years. The Plan highlights the need to fundamentally alter how clinical trials are developed and implemented and recommends that the field:

The Plan also recommends a series of strategies to harness the full potential of significant recent advances in biomedical science through greater efforts to incorporate new tools and ideas from other areas of biomedical research. Among these are advanced imaging technologies to study mucosal immunity and genomic technologies to better understand host factors that regulate the immune response. The Plan calls for increased efforts to foster collaboration with researchers from disciplines that have the potential to transform current approaches to HIV vaccine discovery and development, such as systems biology, which provides a promising approach for the integrative analysis and modeling of large datasets.

The Scientific Strategic Plan also includes recommendations to:

"We need a rich diversity of global support in order to successfully develop an HIV vaccine and start writing the story of the end of AIDS," said Dr. Jose Esparza, Senior Advisor for HIV Vaccines at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "From funding to building and supporting national research systems, many more countries and funders must become fully engaged in this effort."

"The Enterprise Scientific Strategic Plan rightly emphasizes that developing countries must be full partners in HIV vaccine research and development," said Malegapuru Makgoba, MD, PhD, vice-chancellor of South Africa's University of KwaZulu-Natal and a member of the Republic of South Africa National Planning Commission. "Involving developing countries in HIV vaccine research means more than simply conducting clinical trials here. It means conducting pre-clinical and clinical research in full and equal collaboration with developed world country institutions and researchers. Developing world governments must support every effort to strengthen national research capacity and ensure that developing world institutions can fully contribute meaningfully to the global effort."

Copies of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise Scientific Strategic Plan and the reports of the Plan Working Groups are available at www.vaccineenterprise.org.

About the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise

The Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise is a unique alliance of independent research, funding, advocacy and stakeholder organizations around the world dedicated to accelerating the development of a preventive HIV vaccine. Enterprise stakeholders set shared research agendas, create new structures for information sharing, develop new tools to harmonize global research efforts and bring new organizations, expertise and resources to the challenge of developing a safe and effective HIV vaccine. For more information, please visit www.vaccineenterprise.org.

9/10/10

Reference

S Berkley, K Bertram, J-F Delfraissy, and others (Council of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise). The 2010 scientific strategic plan of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise. Nature Medicine 16(9): 981-989 (Free full text). September 2010.

Other source

Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise. Comprehensive New Framework to Speed and Enhance HIV Vaccine Research Released. Press release. September 7, 2010.