NIAID Funds "CHAVI"
To help overcome the primary obstacles to the development of an HIV vaccine, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has announced funding for the creation of the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology, or "CHAVI".
Schmalfeldt: The global effort to find an effective HIV/AIDS vaccine has just gotten a huge financial and organizational boost. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has announced funding to establish the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology, to be known by it's initials — CHAVI. Proposed in 2003 by several prominent HIV/AIDS researchers, including NIAID Director, Doctor Anthony S. Fauci, and other NIH scientists, the concept was endorsed by world leaders during the 2004 G-8 summit. CHAVI's mission will be to address key roadblocks to development of an HIV vaccine, and to design, develop and test novel components for HIV vaccine candidates. Doctor Margaret Johnston, assistant director for HIV/AIDS vaccines at NIAID, talks about why CHAVI could be an important tool for finding the elusive vaccine.
Johnston: What makes this new center unique is that it provides the resources to a very inspired and high-quality group of researchers to tackle some of the very fundamental obstacles in HIV vaccine development that really can only be best approached through such a big scientific endeavor. For example, understanding what immune responses protect animals from AIDS-like disease is a question that has been elusive for a decade or more. To do this appropriately is going to require a very large experiment, a lot of labs coming together to bring their respective tools to bear in trying to design and carry out a very large experiment to do this really, really well.
Schmalfeldt: CHAVI may receive more than $300 million total over seven years, $15 million of which is designated for the first year.
Johnston: This isn't just about bringing people together, working on individual projects. This is about tackling the really big questions that only "big science " can best approach.
Schmalfeldt: Approximately 40 million people around the world are living with HIV/AIDS, and the rate of new HIV infections continues to surpass 13-thousand each day, according to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS. An effective HIV vaccine would be an extremely valuable addition to comprehensive prevention strategies to halt the spread of HIV in developed and developing countries. For more information, log on to www.niaid.nih.gov. From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Bill Schmalfeldt in Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Bill Schmalfeldt
Sound Bite: Dr. Margaret Johnston
Topic: NIAID Funds "CHAVI"