Canada's New Government and Gates Foundation announce support for HIV/AIDS vaccine research

 
Ottawa, Ontario
20 February 2007

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today that Canada’s New Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have committed major new funding to support the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative, a new effort to accelerate the development of an HIV/AIDS vaccine and address critical research gaps identified by the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise. 

“This collaborative effort between Canada’s New Government and the Gates Foundation will contribute to the global effort to develop a safe, effective, affordable, and globally accessible HIV vaccine,” said the Prime Minister. 

Canada’s New Government is committing up to $111 million to the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative, and the Gates Foundation will provide up to $28 million. The initiative will support Canadian researchers and institutions to work with collaborators around the world, including in developing countries, on a range of HIV vaccine research activities, including: 

  • Discovering new vaccine candidates;

  • Strengthening clinical trials capacity;

  • Manufacturing promising vaccine candidates for trials; and

  • Addressing policy, regulatory, and social issues related to HIV vaccine development.

    The Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative will support research priorities identified in the scientific strategic plan of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, an alliance of researchers, funders, and advocates dedicated to accelerating HIV vaccine development. This will help ensure coordination and collaboration with international HIV vaccine research efforts, and help ensure that the needs of developing countries are at the core of the initiative.

    “Through today’s initiative, Canada, in partnership with the Gates Foundation, will provide the resources needed to help realize an HIV/AIDS vaccine, which could one day spare millions of people from this horrific disease,” said Prime Minister Harper.

    Today’s announcement complements the Canadian Government’s existing funding to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and the African AIDS Vaccine Programme.

    “The search for an HIV vaccine is one of the greatest scientific challenges of our time,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation, who joined Prime Minister Harper for today’s announcement. “Canada’s important commitment will support advanced research, and help speed the development of an effective vaccine.” 

    For more information on the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative, please refer to the enclosed backgrounder.

    * * *
    Government of Canada Partners with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to Accelerate Global HIV Vaccine Research and Development Efforts.

    Backgrounder

    The Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative (CHVI) is a collaborative initiative between the Government of Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The initiative will contribute to the global effort to develop safe, effective, affordable and globally accessible HIV vaccine. This collaboration builds on the Government of Canada’s long-term commitment to a comprehensive approach to fight HIV/AIDS globally and domestically, and to develop new HIV prevention technologies.

    The overall goal of the CHVI is to coordinate domestic and international efforts to support the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise. The Enterprise is an alliance of independent organizations around the world dedicated to accelerating the development of a preventive HIV vaccine.  It was created in response to the recognition that the development of an HIV vaccine requires a globally coordinated, sustained and accelerated approach.

    In 2005, leading Canadian researchers, private and governmental sector representatives met with representatives of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to explore how Canadian expertise and strengths could better contribute to the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise. At the 2006 G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, national leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Global Enterprise. Canada is now delivering on its commitment by building a partnership with one of the most innovative players in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

    The CHVI represents an approach involving the Canadian International Development Agency, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Industry Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Health Canada. The Government of Canada is committing up to $111 million to the CHVI, while the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is contributing $28 million.

    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is an independent, privately endowed charitable foundation. One of its missions is to reduce global health inequities by accelerating the development, deployment and sustainability of health interventions that will save lives and dramatically reduce the disease burden in developing countries.

    This Initiative will focus on:

    Discovery and social research

    Through this component, support will be provided to HIV vaccine discovery and social research while strengthening the capacity and promoting greater involvement and collaboration amongst researchers in Canada and low- and middle-income countries

    Clinical trial capacity building and networks

    Support will be given to researchers and research institutions, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, that will strengthen their capacity to conduct high-quality clinical trials of HIV vaccines and other related prevention technologies.

    Pilot scale manufacturing capacity for clinical trial lots

    The proposed manufacturing facility will increase the global capacity to produce HIV vaccine candidates for use in clinical trials. These trials will be conducted mostly in and for the benefit of low- and middle-income countries.

    Policy and regulatory issues

    This component will improve the regulatory capacity in low- and middle-income countries, particularly those where clinical trials are planned or ongoing, and to address policy issues that will ultimately promote global access to a HIV vaccine.

    Community and social dimensions

    The CHVI will support the development and strengthening of community, legal, ethical and human rights frameworks for a HIV vaccine in Canada and in low-and middle-income countries.

    Planning, coordination and evaluation

    The CHVI will coordinate its activities with Canadian and international HIV vaccine research and development partners to ensure the Canadian contribution to the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise is most effective.
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