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ENVEP


HIV/AIDS

European Network for Vaccine Evaluation in Primates: Combined Vector Immunisation for AIDS Vaccine Development
Framework programme:
5
Project number:
QLK2-CT-1999-00871
EC contribution:
€ 2 995 986
Duration:
36 months
Type:
RS
Starting date:
1 February 2000

Keywords: Vaccine network; non-human primates; HIV vaccine

Summary:

This project has led to the formation of a horizontal network of EU participants, all with access to biocontainment facilities suitable for holding macaques infected with pathogens and supporting infrastructure needed to evaluate vaccines effectively. A proof of principle demonstration of an effective coordinated multi-centre vaccine study is being executed, using recombinant vectors to develop a safe and effective AIDS vaccine.

Problem:

Progress in the development of novel vaccines against many of the infectious diseases that pose a threat to human health, for example HIV, HCV, TB, and Malaria, is restricted by the availability of suitable challenge models, and access to the biocontainment facilities and infrastructure necessary for working with animals infected with human pathogens safely. This problem is most acute when simian models are needed. Within Europe, there are few institutes with adequate facilities, thus restricting opportunities for large multi-variate evaluation of vaccines in a readily comparable manner. No single European country has the required infrastructure. Only a network can therefore generate the critical mass of human and structural resources.

AIDS is a major threat to global human health. According to a WHO estimate, more than 50 million people have been infected globally and over 16 000 new HIV infections occur daily. There is, therefore, a critical need for an effective vaccine against HIV. A major hurdle is the failure to identify correlates of immune protection against AIDS. Thus, there is a need for animal challenge models to evaluate the efficacy as well as the immunogenicity of candidate vaccines. Experimental infection of macaques with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) is believed to represent the best model of infection and disease for HIV and AIDS in man. However, the worldwide availability of the facilities and resources for handling infected macaques with SIV under appropriate biocontainment is limiting the size and scope of the preclinical studies using this model.

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