May 18, 1999
In his commencement address at Morgan State University on May 18, 1997, President Clinton asked the nation to commit to creating a vaccine against AIDS within 10 years. To accelerate this quest, he announced that a new Vaccine Research Center would be established at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Last year, AIDS vaccine advocates marked the anniversary of this announcement by designating May 18 as AIDS Vaccine Awareness Day. Communities nationwide organized teach-ins and other activities to educate people about AIDS vaccine research and to honor the several thousand U.S. volunteers who have already participated in clinical trials of experimental AIDS vaccines. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) supported their efforts by coordinating national media contacts. Similar events are planned again this year to mark this anniversary.
This document summarizes progress in NIH-sponsored AIDS vaccine research in the two years since the President’s commencement address at Morgan State University.
New initiatives have been launched by NIAID’s Division of AIDS to enhance opportunities for vaccine discovery and to help move vaccine concepts from basic research through clinical trials. The overall objective is to increase the number of new, innovative and promising vaccine concepts flowing through the pipeline.
The vaccine, when combined with "booster shots" made from a specially engineered virus carrying the same genes, seemed to protect animals later given doses of a live hybrid virus made from HIV and SIV. The vaccine did not keep the animals from getting infected but seemed to keep the hybrid virus under control, making it undetectable in the blood.
Within the federal government, several other agencies also have a role in AIDS vaccine research, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the Department of Defense (DoD); and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The roles of these different agencies in AIDS vaccine development are related and complementary and span the spectrum from basic research to licensure and program implementation. For example, CDC conducts epidemiologic studies and surveillance needed to define health priorities, and develops recommendations for vaccine use. The FDA establishes standards for the processes, facilities, and pre- and post-licensing studies needed to insure the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. And the NIH supports most of the basic and clinical research in fields such as immunology and microbiology that lead to vaccine development.
NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of
infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News
releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at www.niaid.nih.gov.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research,
and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health ®
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Last Updated May 18, 1999