Gates leads $23.4M in funding for HIV/AIDS vaccine
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Army's Military HIV Research Program, the NIH and other groups have banded together to fund development of a vaccine that could target multiple strains of the HIV virus--technology that could stop HIV by neutralizing the virus' ability to mutate.
Robert Gallo, who helped identify the disease and develop a blood test to detect it, is the head of the research project at the University of Maryland's Institute of Human Virology. His team's vaccine targets a protein in the virus that is exposed only with the virus is attaching itself to a cell. Unlike proteins on the surface of the virus, this target is always the same, making it possible for researchers to attack multiple strains of the disease. "IHV's unique and promising HIV/AIDS vaccine candidate is designed to bind to the virus at the moment of infection, when many of the different strains of HIV found around the world can be neutralized," explained Gallo in an article published by IHV. "We believe this mechanism is a major prerequisite for an effective HIV preventive vaccine."
The $23.4 million in funding will be used to fund preclinical and early-stage trials of the vaccine. Gallo and his team of researchers will work with others from Sanofi Pasteur and the Military HIV Research Program on the vaccine's development.
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