NIAID Creates HIV Vaccine Discovery
Branch to Promote Synergy between Basic HIV Researchers and
To accelerate the translation of basic discoveries about HIV into
advances in vaccine design and evaluation, the National Institute
of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), has formed a new Vaccine Discovery
Branch within the Vaccine Research Program in the Division of AIDS
"There is broad scientific consensus that designing a safe
and effective vaccine to prevent HIV infection will require enormous
advances beyond present-day knowledge," says NIAID Director
Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "The NIAID Vaccine Discovery Branch
will help remove fundamental obstacles to achieving this goal by
focusing intensively on the development and sharing of new knowledge
critical to vaccine development."
The new branch is dedicated to monitoring scientific developments
in multiple fields related to HIV vaccine discovery, building more
bridges between basic researchers and HIV vaccine designers, identifying
gaps in knowledge pertinent to a preventive HIV vaccine and promoting
research to fill those gaps.
"Cross-fertilization of HIV/AIDS research with the fields
of genetics, structural biology, systems biology and others could
open up new perspectives on how to overcome major obstacles to
HIV vaccine design," says DAIDS Director Carl W. Dieffenbach,
Ph.D. "The Vaccine Discovery Branch will be in an ideal position
to spot these opportunities, promote the translation of new knowledge
about HIV and foster fruitful research collaborations."
In addition, the new branch will
- Monitor vaccine discovery efforts and related basic HIV research
within NIH, nationally and internationally
- Determine funding priorities for vaccine discovery research
- Plan, develop, implement and evaluate extramural grants and contracts
to support the conduct of fundamental virology and immunology research
as it relates to the discovery of novel AIDS vaccine concepts
- Foster the development and supply of necessary research reagents
and other resources
The Vaccine Discovery Branch also will have chief oversight of
the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology (CHAVI), a consortium
of universities and academic medical centers established by NIAID
to solve major problems in HIV vaccine development and design.
A multidisciplinary group of scientists from across DAIDS will
continue to participate in overseeing CHAVI.
Jorge Flores, M.D., deputy director of the Vaccine Research Program,
will serve as acting chief of the new branch until a national search
results in the selection of a new chief. Dr. Flores has been involved
in the conduct and administration of vaccine research at NIH since
Information about HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and clinical
trials is available at http://www.aidsinfo.nih.gov/.
NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health. NIAID
supports basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose and treat
infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted
infections, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria and illness from potential
agents of bioterrorism. NIAID also supports research on basic immunology,
transplantation and immune-related disorders, including autoimmune
diseases, asthma and allergies. News releases, fact sheets and
other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers
and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic,
clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates
the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases.
For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.