01 October 2008

Aids vaccine institute to open

A new Aids vaccine research centre dedicated to solving one of the stickiest problems holding back development of such a vaccine will open in California.

A new Aids vaccine research centre dedicated to solving one of the stickiest problems holding back development of such a vaccine will open in California, researchers announced recently.

The $30 million (about R250 million) facility is a joint venture by the non-profit Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla and the International Aids Vaccine Initiative.

"The world needs an Aids vaccine to turn the tide on this devastating pandemic," Dr Richard Lerner, president of the Scripps Research Institute, said in a statement.

"We are confident that this centre will facilitate more productive exchanges among researchers and stimulate new ideas that will help to accelerate Aids vaccine science."

The centre at Scripps will be dedicated to one important aspect of making a vaccine - stimulating the immune system to produce neutralising antibodies capable of incapacitating HIV, the Aids virus.

No cure as yet
Cocktails of drugs can control the virus but there is no cure. Efforts to make a vaccine have failed, in part because HIV attacks some of the cells usually activated by immunisation, and in part because no vaccine has been able to stimulate antibodies to help kill the virus.

"Finding a way to elicit neutralising antibodies against HIV is the biggest challenge facing Aids vaccine researchers today," said Dr Seth Berkley, president and chief executive officer of IAVI.

The institute will recruit biologists, virologists, chemists and immunologists to work together in the lab and run tests in human volunteers.

"This reinvigorated approach will also make it easier for us to recruit and mentor the young scientists who represent the future of HIV/Aids vaccine research," said Dennis Burton, who works at Scripps and IAVI.

The centre is not yet built and no date has been announced for its opening. – (Reuters Health)

Read more:
HIV/Aids Centre
Aids vaccine decades away

September 2008


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

HIV/Aids expert

Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules