Friday, Oct. 3, 1997
Wendy Wertheimer, OAR|
Anne Thomas, OD
OAR Director Dr. William Paul to Leave Office of AIDS Research
and Return to Laboratory Science
- OAR conducted the first comprehensive evaluation of the NIH AIDS research program to determine whether it is appropriately designed and coordinated to answer the critical scientific questions that will lead to better treatments, prevention, and a cure for AIDS. The final report, known as the "Levine Report," provides a blueprint for restructuring the NIH AIDS research program to streamline research, strengthen high-quality programs, eliminate inadequate programs, and ensure that the American people reap the full benefits of their substantial investment in AIDS research.
- The OAR has made vaccine development a high priority, restructuring and revitalizing the program, and providing increased resources. The recruitment of Dr. David Baltimore to serve as Chair of the AIDS Vaccine Research Committee fulfilled a key recommendation of the Levine Report. In addition, it is estimated that the total NIH funds available for vaccine research have increased by more than 40 percent over the last two years.
- The OAR has emphasized funding for research on basic aspects of HIV, on the immune system, and on the mechanisms of disease, with greater reliance placed on investigator-initiated science. Between fiscal years 1994 and 1998, the number of research grants funded by the NIH is estimated to increase by 50 percent. This has encouraged innovation from a wider group of investigators and has resulted in great progress toward the development of better treatments and the provision of the basic information necessary for vaccine development.
- The OAR has developed a Prevention Science Agenda, as recommended by the Levine Report, which combines research on behavioral interventions with biomedical modalities such as topical microbicides, female-controlled barriers, methods to prevent mother-to-child transmission, and prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.
A search committee for a new director for the OAR is being established. The Office will continue in its work to find solutions to the challenges posed by HIV. The NIH remains dedicated to the goal of preventing and curing AIDS.