The Enterprise Approach
With 4.1 million new HIV infections in 2006, and nearly 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS, the development of a preventive HIV vaccine is the world's best long-term hope for bringing the global HIV/AIDS epidemic under control.
Since HIV was identified more than two decades ago, scientists have been working to develop a vaccine, but progress has been far too slow. Although researchers have made important strides in understanding the fundamental biology of HIV, there are major scientific and organizational challenges to translating this knowledge into an effective vaccine that could benefit millions.
The Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise is an alliance of independent organizations around the world dedicated to accelerating the development of a preventive HIV vaccine by:
- Shared scientific plan: Implementing a strategic plan for HIV vaccine research that spans vaccine discovery, product development and manufacturing, and clinical trials
- Increased resources: Mobilizing significant new funding to achieve the scientific plan
- Greater collaboration: Promoting more efficient, faster ways for researchers to share successes and failures and avoid duplication of efforts
Originally proposed in June 2003 in an article published in the journal Science by 24 leaders in HIV vaccine research, the Enterprise represents a new way of doing business. The authors of the Science paper argued that while most HIV vaccine research has been conducted by small teams of investigators working independently, the scale of current projects is not sufficient to solve the major scientific challenges facing the field.
The Enterprise calls for complementing current investigator-led efforts with large-scale, well-funded, and collaborative efforts across institutions and disciplines. The Enterprise focuses on tackling major scientific problems that have proven too difficult for any one group to address alone.
The Enterprise brings together researchers, funders, and advocates from private industry, academia, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations in developed and developing countries.
The Enterprise also engages the broader international community, including the G8 leaders, to support HIV vaccine research and make it an integral part of the global response to HIV/AIDS. The following Yaoundé Statement for HIV Vaccine Research and Development in Africa asks the African Union to endorse and support the Enterprise and urges the African AIDS Vaccine Program (AAVP) and the African HIV vaccine research community to align their scientific strategic plans with those of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, in particular with respect to setting laboratory standards and capacity strengthening.