356 million granted by NIH for AIDS vaccine research 
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 356 million granted by NIH for AIDS vaccine research

NIH Accelerates AIDS Vaccine Research

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters Health) Sept 06 - Since 1990, the US National
Institutes of Health has increased HIV/AIDS vaccine research funding
by more than six-fold, with a projected budget of $356.6 million for
fiscal year 2002, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National
Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), told conference
participants here Wednesday night.

Kicking off the first international scientific meeting to focus on
AIDS vaccine research, Dr. Fauci said that of the total NIH funding
for AIDS, which has reached 2.5 billion per year, 40.1% will be
channeled into vaccine and non-vaccine prevention efforts. The
increase for AIDS vaccine research of 26.6% in 2000-2001 exceeds
percentage increases allocated for all other areas of research.

"If you look at the track record of resources, they are now in what I
would call an escalation phase," Dr. Fauci said. The bulk of NIAID
vaccine research funds, 61%, will be dedicated to HIV vaccine

Dr. Fauci also addressed the impact that the recent change in
administration has had on AIDS funding. Although there are major
difficulties with the so-called "incredible vanishing [budget]
surplus," the fact is, he said, that the Bush administration has made
an "extraordinary commitment" to NIH funding. "The first budget that
we defended last March and April was the largest single percent
increase for the NIH in its history, and the same holds true for
HIV/AIDS," he said.

Dr. Fauci outlined some of the ongoing NIAID programs that were
launched to augment HIV vaccine basic research. The HIV Vaccine Trials
Network, a global research network, was recently created to oversee
all phases of clinical trials of HIV vaccine candidates currently in
the research pipeline.

To date, the NIAID has about 24 HIV vaccine candidates, 16 of which
are directed against HIV clades commonly found in the developing
world, including clade A (Africa) and clade C (Asia and Africa).
"There is a clear attention that's being paid to non-B clade viruses
that are relevant to developing nations," Dr. Fauci told attendees.

Dr. Fauci also stressed the importance of setting up a matrix of
"sustainable infrastructure" in developing nations. To this end,
another NIAID program, the Comprehensive International Program of
Clinical Research on AIDS (CIPRA), will focus on research
infrastructure and studies of affordable prevention and treatment
methods. It is envisioned that long-term support by CIPRA will prepare
host countries to conduct research in local populations. The US
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has parallel programs in
this area.

The NIAID's Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center (VRC) is
also conducting all stages of HIV vaccine research. The first
VRC-sponsored phase I study of a DNA vaccine using the "gag" and "pol"
HIV proteins has already begun.

"I'm confident that we will be ultimately be successful" in developing
an AIDS vaccine, Dr. Fauci said in his closing remarks. "The challenge
is great, but the stakes are extremely high."




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Thu, 26 Feb 2004 08:34:57 GMT
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