BETHESDA, MdThe National Institute of Allergy and Infectious
Diseases (NIAID) is providing funding for nine US clinical units of
the new international HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN).
The new program is intended as a clinically based network to develop
and test preventive HIV vaccines. Other units will be located in
sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
The NIAID network creates a coordinated, global framework in
which to conduct clinical HIV vaccine research, NIAID director
Anthony S. Fauci, MD, said in a statement released to the press.
The new NIAID network will strengthen and expand our HIV
vaccine studies both domestically and in countries devastated by the
NIAID will provide $29 million for the first year of HVTN operations.
The organizations clinical trials sites are coordinated by a
Leadership Group that includes a Core Operations Center at the Fred
Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, which will provide
administrative, technical, and operational support; a Statistical and
Data Management Center, also located at Fred Hutchinson; and a
Central Laboratory located at Duke University.
NIAIDs HIV vaccine research program was previously centered in
two separate groups: the US-based AIDS Vaccine Evaluation Group
(AVEG), which carried out early-stage testing of vaccine candidates,
and the HIV Network for Prevention Trials (HIVNET), which conducted
domestic and international trials of HIV vaccines and other
AVEG and HIVNET investigators, along with other scientists worldwide,
underwent a competitive, peer-reviewed evaluation process during the
creation of the new network.
The HVTN will build upon the many accomplishments of the AVEG
and HIVNET, said Peggy Johnston, PhD, NIAIDs assistant
director for AIDS vaccines. The comprehensive clinical research
agenda addresses many promising scientific opportunities to develop
an HIV vaccine, which is ultimately the best hope for preventing the
spread of HIV.
According to the institute, HVTN will conduct all phases of
clinical trials, from evaluating candidate vaccines for safety and
the ability to stimulate immune response, to testing vaccine
The program will integrate the work of the US-based units with those
around the globe, allowing the network to expand rapidly to carry out
larger scale studies of suitable vaccines, Dr. Johnston said. Many of
the foreign institutions participating in HVTN have extensive
experience in HIV prevention studies, she noted.