A new initiative to accelerate the search for an effective HIV vaccine begins this week.
Financed by the European Commission, the European AIDS Vaccine Initiative (EAVI2020), which is led by Imperial College London, unites scientists from 22 institutions throughout Europe and the United States, pooling their knowledge and expertise to develop novel candidate vaccines with the goal that the vaccines would be taken through to human trials within five years.
Professor Robin Shattock, Coordinator of EAVI2020, from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, said in a statement: “Creating an effective vaccine against HIV represents one of the greatest biological challenges of a generation … But it is impossible for one group or institution to create an HIV vaccine on its own. This new project should enable us to move much more quickly. It brings together a multidisciplinary team of molecular biologists, immunologists, virologists, biotechnologists and clinicians, providing the breadth of expertise needed to take the latest discoveries in the lab and rapidly advance them through preclinical testing and manufacture, into early human trials.”
Researchers will be looking at how healthy human volunteers immune systems respond to potential vaccines, studying the antibodies that the volunteers produce. The researchers will explore the pathways in the body that make these antibodies, to fine-tune candidate vaccines.