Emory snags $6M for HIV/AIDS vaccine research

Researchers at Emory University landed a $6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help develop an effective vaccine for HIV/AIDS.

The grant comes as part of the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery, an international network of scientists and experts who are working on a variety of HIV vaccine candidates. Researchers at Emory, led by Bali Pulendran, will work to program innate immunity to induce effective protective antibodies against HIV in nonhuman primates.

The researchers created nanoparticles that mimic viruses and are covered with molecules that activate Toll-like receptors (TLRs). When used in mice, these particles stimulate long-lasting immune responses to inactivated influenza virus. The money will allow the researchers to optimize their TLR nanoparticle approach for an HIV vaccine and to test the vaccine.

"An intriguing aspect of the data from the recent vaccine clinical trial in Thailand, RV144, was that although it resulted in a modest reduction in infection compared with placebo, protective immunity diminished over time," Pulendran said. "This underscores the importance of generating durable antibody responses."

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched the CAVD in 2006 and has funded 30 grants supporting investigators in 19 countries.

- see the release

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