Gates Foundation: 287 Million For AIDS Vaccine genre: Gaylingual & Little Red Ribbon-Hood


The Gates Foundation announced that it was contributing 287 million dollars towards efforts to develop an AIDS vaccine. Scientists have been seeking a vaccine for some 25 years with little success. Currently, there are more vaccine candidates in the pipeline than have ever before. Nonetheless, experts caution that the virus is very clever and it is possible that none of the current vaccines will produce the desired results. Read the full article here.

The package of grants - 16 in all spread among more than 165 researchers in 19 countries, including Canada _ represents the largest single investment for HIV/AIDS by the philanthropic organization created by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda.

"There still remain many unanswered scientific questions, and, in addition, resources haven't always been allocated in the most strategic way, which means there is also a greater need for collaborations amongst investigators.''

To that end, the foundation has earmarked about two-thirds of its grants to create 11 large-scale consortia that will pursue innovative ideas for designing an effective HIV vaccine. The five remaining grants will fund central laboratories and other facilities to ensure that research results from one scientific team can be compared in a standardized fashion with those from other teams.

The aim of this collaborative network is to quickly identify the most promising candidate vaccines and pursue their testing and development, Hellmann said. All the researchers accepted grants on the understanding that any successful vaccine would be made available cheaply and quickly to HIV-ravaged developing countries.

The collaborative notion represents a radical shift in the world of science, where researchers typically jealously guard their results until publication or presentation to their peers.

The donation stands in stark contrast to today's veto, by President Bush, of a bill passed by the House and the Senate to expand stem cell research. Fortunately, there are people like Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett who have made important commitments to furthering scientific research. Until such time as the President recants or is replaced by his successor, the U.S. may lag other nations in the effort to move forward with stem cell research.

Daniel DiRito | July 19, 2006 | 9:03 AM
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