Press Release


NEW YORK – The AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC) today responded to an announcement by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that it would not be able to run a clinical trial of immune responses with the canarypox HIV vaccine candidate. “We are very disappointed that immunology results do not meet the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) criteria to move ahead with a correlates trial,” said Chris Collins, Executive Director of AVAC.

The NIH also announced today that the highly regarded HIV vaccine research program based at the Department of Defense would be funded by NIH. “HIV vaccine research benefits from a diversity of efforts,” Collins said. “For years the DOD program has been engaged in directed research that well complements other efforts in government and industry. With support from the Thai government they intend to move forward with a more empirically based canarypox efficacy trial, which AVAC fully supports. As this program moves forward its accomplished military research team deserves to retain its scientific and operational independence.”

“Given these events, government and industry must now intensify their efforts on HIV vaccine research and development,” Collins said. “Today’s news must not become an excuse to abandon support for clinical trials or trial sites around the world. Ultimately, a series of large scale human trials of multiple candidate vaccines will almost certainly be necessary. It is essential that we continue to improve the clinical trials infrastructure needed to run these trials where the need is most intense, particularly in resource-poor countries where infections rates continue to be very high.”.

AVAC is a group of volunteer advocates, supported by a small professional staff, that has become a leading national voice on AIDS vaccines. In May of each year, AVAC releases a report analyzing the state of AIDS vaccine research and identifying needed actions in the public and private sectors to advance development and eventual delivery of vaccines for AIDS. AVAC also works to mobilize community support for AIDS vaccine research, develops and distributes educational materials, and advocates for expanded attention to AIDS vaccines in government and industry. AVAC staff and board members participate in a variety of national and international advisory boards shaping clinical trials, public policy, and communications strategies concerning AIDS vaccines.