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Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Print version ISSN 0042-9686

Bull World Health Organ vol.78 n.3 Genebra Mar. 2000 



More partnerships to spur vaccine development



WHO and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have set up a joint HIV Vaccine Initiative to increase international cooperation in the development of a vaccine against what is now the single biggest infectious killer worldwide. Jose Esparza, coordinator of the new initiative, says that global research efforts on HIV vaccines must be coordinated because of the large number of viral strains and the increasing number of potential vaccines being tested. In addition, the initiative will broker partnerships between the public and private sectors. “Without these partnerships, a viable vaccine may never happen,” said Esparza in an announcement as the initiative’s Vaccine Advisory Committee met for the first time on 21 February.1

The WHO–UNAIDS initiative on HIV began just days after an announcement of a new collaboration on malaria, this time by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), a programme administered by the nonprofit organization Program for Appropriate Technology in Health. Last year, the Seattle-based organization, better known by its acronym PATH, set up the initiative through a grant of US$ 50 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Now the MVI has signed a memorandum of understanding with NIAID. MVI's Director, Regina Rabinovich, says the move is “a critical step... that will allow MVI to have an impact on malaria vaccine research. NIAID offers unparalleled clinical testing sites for malaria vaccines and a growing capability to manufacture sufficient quantities of vaccine for field-testing.”2



1 WHO and UNAIDS join forces to launch HIV vaccine initiative. WHO/UNAIDS press release, 21 February 2000.
2 Available at