Dear Friends and Colleagues,
In 2009, we saw significant progress in the field of HIV vaccine research with several advances in preclinical and clinical research. These advances have shown us that a vaccine against HIV is possible.
To move forward, we must first agree on where we are going and how best to get there. This is why the updated 2010 Scientific Strategic Plan that the Enterprise is now developing with the participation of more than 100 scientists from around the world is so critical.
Over the last few months, we hosted a series of Working Group meetings in close consultation with the entire HIV vaccine field to address the scientific and structural issues that are now confronting our field. The themes of these Working Groups arose out of the deliberations of the Enterprise Science Committee at the beginning of 2009. The Working Groups have developed reports summarizing the priorities, goals and recommendations coming out of each meeting. These reports, along with the three formal consultations that we facilitated at the IAS Pathogenesis meeting, the AIDS Vaccine 2009 meeting, and the AAVP Forum, are being synthesizing to develop the 2010 Plan, which will be released in the next few months.
This field has had its fair share of setbacks and disappointments. But in this long journey we are on toward a vaccine against HIV, I believe 2009 will be remembered as a landmark year, a year of significant progress in understanding the dynamic interactions between HIV and its host, of important new insights coming from the post hoc analysis of the STEP trial, of a deepening understanding of the immunological underpinnings of the phenomenon whereby certain rare individuals can control viral replication and thereby ameliorate the effects of the virus on their clinical course, new insights into the immunological events that occur immediately following acute HIV infection, and the landmark results of the Thai Trial.
I think we can expect 2010 to be even more exciting. The release of the 2010 Scientific Strategic Plan comes at a transitional moment for the field, and I hope it will lead to robust discussions and debate as we continue to work together to chart the fastest way forward towards a vaccine that will end this epidemic. We thank you and ask for your continued contributions to HIV vaccine research by furthering the goals of the 2010 Plan.
There are many people who have so generously contributed their time and talents to the efforts of the Enterprise. I will not single out any of them by name, but I do want to acknowledge my colleagues on the staff of the Secretariat. Their efforts, largely behind the scenes, on behalf of the Enterprise over the past year have contributed greatly to fulfilling the unique mission of the Enterprise.
All the best,
Alan Bernstein, OC, PhD, FRSC
Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise