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ASU joins international effort to create HIV vaccine

Compiled from media reports


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A researcher at Arizona State University is receiving a share of a $15 million dollar grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a vaccine for HIV.

Bertram Jacobs, a professor of infectious diseases at the Biodesign Institute at ASU has received $900,000 to lead a project that will attempt to ward off HIV infection using genetically engineered poxviruses.

Jacobs is an expert on a poxvirus called vaccinia, a cousin of the smallpox virus that was used to eradicate smallpox. His research team will attempt to utilize vaccinia to produce a similar outcome with HIV.

ASU will collaborate with Switzerland's Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, a world-renowned teaching hospital, to create the vaccine. ASU is charged with developing the vaccine, while the Switzerland group will conduct the clinical trials.

"Making an HIV vaccine is an incredibly daunting task," said Jacobs. "But we've got some of the best people in their respective fields working together on this project."

The grant is part of $287 million that the Gates Foundation announced it will disperse to create an HIV vaccine. The money will fund a network of international research groups involving 165 investigators from 19 countries.

For more information:

"Arizona fully involved in AIDS vaccine push," Arizona Republic, 08/12/2006

"ASU will study smallpox vaccine in AIDS cure hunt," East Valley Tribune, 08/10/2006

"ASU joins international HIV research team," Business Journal, 08/09/2006

"ASU joins collaboration to accelerate HIV vaccine development," Biodesign Institute press release, 08/10/2006