THSTI and IAVI announce joint HIV vaccine design program in India

The Translational Health Sciences and Technology Institute (THSTI), an autonomous institute of the Indian government’s Department of Biotechnology, and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) announced an agreement “to jointly establish, operate and fund an HIV Vaccine Design Program in India. The program will include the establishment of a new laboratory on the campus of THSTI in the National Capital Region of New Delhi…and will primarily focus on one of the greatest scientific challenges of AIDS vaccine design and development: the elicitation of antibodies capable of neutralizing a broad spectrum of circulating HIV variants, a problem that stems in large part from the almost unparalleled mutability of HIV.” M.K. Bhan, Secretary of the Department of Biotechnology, India, said, “With 7,100 people newly infected with HIV every day, effective tools to prevent infection are indispensible to the fight against HIV and AIDS. India alone has 2.7 million HIV-positive people within its borders. A broadly effective AIDS vaccine would be a powerful asset to efforts to arrest the spread of HIV. The Department of Biotechnology believes that it is only through partnerships like the one we have forged, involving international collaborations and the open sharing of scientific knowledge, that we will boost translational research and solve the complex global biomedical problems of our times.”

Seth Berkley, CEO of IAVI, said, “We are very excited about the launch of this collaboration. We are grateful for the unequivocal support this partnership has received from the Indian government and are confident it will contribute to ongoing efforts in India and elsewhere to design a broadly effective AIDS vaccine. India has an exceptional reserve of top-notch researchers, some of whom are already working closely with IAVI.”