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Commentary & Opinion

Can Crowdfunding Be Used Effectively to Advance HIV Vaccine Research?

December 21, 2012

"What will the next great leap forward be, and how can we make sure it gets tested ASAP?" Zachary Barnett, founder and executive director of Abzyme Research Foundation/ENDHIV.com, asks about HIV research in the Huffington Post's "Gay Voices" blog. "International sales of antiretrovirals in 2011 were over $15 billion, while commercial reinvestment into the testing of therapeutic vaccine and cure approaches was just $30 million, or just 0.2 percent," he notes, adding, "So it appears we need more ways to get money flowing into new cure and therapeutic vaccine research."

"The last five years have shown the incredible power of crowdfunding to mobilize projects from underground parks in NYC to documentaries on war crimes in Central Africa," Barnett continues. "Under the guidance of my board at the Abzyme Research Foundation, I launched a crowdfund to start a new therapeutic vaccine on the FDA approval process on Dec. 1. In two weeks we have raised 50 percent of our initial goal, and I believe the project is attractive to donors," he writes. "Regardless of whether you think this effort has the potential to change the course of HIV/AIDS, it is essential to keep considering what has that potential, and then identify how you can offer your support," he concludes (12/20).

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