Georgia: Emory's HIV Fight Gets Boost
July 31, 2006
On Friday, Emory University announced that two of its scientists have been awarded a $4.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of the ongoing worldwide search for an HIV/AIDS vaccine.
The grant is part of the foundation's $30.1 million donation to help overcome scientific obstacles in HIV vaccine research, said recipient Bali Pulendran, an immunologist and professor in the Department of Pathology at the Emory University Medical School and a researcher in the Emory Vaccine Center. The Gates Foundation recently announced 16 grants totaling $287 million for the international HIV vaccine research.
Rafi Ahmed, director of the Emory Vaccine Center and professor of immunology and microbiology at Emory's medical school, said he and Pulendran were "very excited to be part of the international effort to accelerate vaccine development."
Pulendran and Ahmed will be looking at ways to encourage the body's immune system to adapt to offer HIV immunity. "That means harnessing the innate immunity to boost the body's defenses against HIV," said Pulendran. Though all creatures have an innate immune system to fight disease, he said, "the adaptive immune system is only present in some creatures, including mammals."
The subject of the grant is to "find out the connection between innate and the adaptive," said Pulendran. "This will be a unique effort at Emory," though 16 research organizations are assisting with various other aspects of the puzzle, he said.
The vaccine will be tested at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, which houses the Emory Vaccine Center. "The information obtained from these studies could be widely applicable," said Ahmed.
07.29.06; Bill Hendrick
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.