The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative advocates a comprehensive response to the AIDS pandemic that expands existing HIV prevention, treatment and care and supports the swift development and rollout of new preventive tools and strategies. These include vaccines, treatment as a means of prevention, preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with antiretroviral drugs and microbicides.
In 2012, we worked with our partners to conduct several preclinical studies and Phase I trials in multiple countries, built a stronger case for AIDS vaccine development through our international networks, shared our findings from ongoing research at medical conferences, expanded our network of academic and private sector partners and continued building research capacity in countries hardest hit by the AIDS pandemic.
Researchers and policymakers are today increasingly convinced
that an AIDS vaccine is possible and could help significantly slow
the spread of HIV. We are proud of the many steps we took with our
partners in 2012 to advance progress toward such vaccines.
IAVI has worked with partners to establish a state-of-the- art research and development program to design and evaluate new HIV vaccine candidates, and a variety of policy, advocacy and communication initiatives to sustain global support for AIDS vaccine research. IAVI continued in 2012 to make significant advances toward the development of safe and effective HIV vaccines, expanding the clinical pipeline and accelerating vaccine design and screening.
Harnessing cells and antibodies -- a two-pronged
assault on HIV
Validating a new strategy for vaccine design
Sharing our expertise in antibodies and product development
Phase I trials completed in Africa and the US
Improving data integrity and the safety of volunteers
Replicating vectors in Africa
Domino effects of technical capacity
Parsing HIV dynamics in severe epidemics and preparing for vaccine trials
A Vocabulary of Vaccinology
Vaccines help the immune system detect and destroy pathogens (viruses, bacteria and parasites) before they can cause disease—and to remember them for future targeting. Many vaccines do this either by exposing the body to a weakened or dead pathogen, or to molecules derived from targeted pathogens, which are known as immunogens. Intact weakened HIV is not used to make vaccines because of the risk of disease. Instead, the immunogens used to make candidate HIV vaccines are either HIV protein molecules, or HIV genes that are taken up by cells of the body, which then produce the proteins encoded by the genes. Such genes might be delivered in a circle of DNA (a DNA vaccine). They may alternatively be incorporated into an unrelated virus, or vector. In any case, HIV vaccine candidates cannot cause HIV infection, since they only contain or encode fragments of the virus.
In 2012, we implemented a new strategy that reshaped our research programs and advocacy to focus on areas of AIDS vaccine development and advocacy where we have the most to contribute. As part of this effort, IAVI sought to become a stronger partner to other organizations in the field. It is only by working together that we will overcome the formidable challenges posed by HIV. In consultation with donors, stakeholders and partners, we zeroed in on filling key gaps in HIV vaccine development, and becoming a leading voice in advocacy and policy for the field. We also took deliberate steps to ensure that both our organization and its programs are transparent and accountable to donors and stakeholders, and demonstrate that we deliver value for money.
An uncertain global economic climate lent urgency to our efforts to achieve greater focus and efficiency, which led us to restructure the organization, streamline our programs and reduce our spending by more than 20% to match what we believe are sustainable levels of funding in the future. I believe these changes have brought IAVI’s programs fully in line with its new strategy, and have made us a more focused, efficient and effective organization.
As a consequence, 2012 was a challenging but productive year for IAVI. Much of the credit for that goes to our hardworking partners and staff, who persevered through a period of change in an uncertain economic environment. With our partners in Africa, we completed two Phase I vaccine trials, continued a third, and prepared for one that is today evaluating a new kind of HIV vaccine candidate. Researchers at and affiliated with IAVI designed and assessed scores of novel immunogens to elicit broadly effective antibodies against HIV, and we opened a laboratory with partners in India to support these efforts. Our advocacy, policy and communications teams helped raise the profile of HIV vaccine development in the policies of major organizations and governments, such as PEPFAR and the government of Kenya.
We were also happy to welcome the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise to our new headquarters at 125 Broad Street in New York. We look forward to continue working with the Enterprise on a variety of AIDS vaccine advocacy and research support projects. Our contributions to HIV vaccine development depended, as always, on the support of a global corps of volunteers who participate in vaccine-related research or advocate for such work in their communities. On behalf of IAVI and its partners, I would like to thank these unsung champions of the campaign against HIV. Their steady support is invaluable to our shared cause. The accomplishments recorded in this report are theirs as much as ours.
I have no doubt that if we keep working together as we did last year, we will continue to make strides toward the development of an AIDS vaccine that will ultimately help stem the tide of the HIV pandemic.
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New York, NY 10004 USA
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