Lab Canada

Meeting explores barriers to accelerating HIV vaccine discovery

Winnipeg, MB – Twelve national and international experts in HIV and non-HIV vaccine discovery and development exchanged information from the perspectives of basic science, regulatory affairs and industry at the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative (CHVI) Research and Development Alliance Coordinating Office (ACO) annual meeting held in St. John’s, Newfoundland on May 1.

The experts concluded overcoming barriers in HIV vaccine development requires adopting existing innovative practices and forming broader collaborations may be needed to accelerate HIV vaccine discovery.

The full-day event provided updated information about barriers to vaccine research and development and innovative approaches being taken to overcome them. Key topics included optimizing efforts in HIV vaccine research and development, clinical trials and regulatory practices, as well as perspectives from international organizations and industry on overcoming barriers.

“HIV vaccine research and development requires a collaborative, global effort where researchers, funders and industry work together towards a common goal,” says ACO Director Greg Hammond. “HIV vaccine research and development may further benefit from closer ties to the research and development communities of non-HIV vaccines, where there is much in common and mutual benefits may be expected.”

Although about 40 HIV-vaccine trials are in various stages of progress around the world, an effective universal vaccine has eluded scientists since AIDS was first reported 33 years ago. The discussion at the ACO Annual CHVI R&D meeting identified some possibilities for Canadian involvement in overcoming barriers. Some of the key points raised during the meeting included:

  • Current and future non-vaccine prevention strategies against HIV infections will influence the design and implementation of future HIV vaccine clinical trials.
  • Canada has unique networks and expertise with clinical trials and research capacity.
  • Regulatory harmonization/convergence and capacity building are essential for future clinical trials in developing countries.
  • Building local and regional regulatory capacity is important for HIV vaccine clinical trials in Africa.
  • International partnerships can facilitate improvements in regulation of diagnostic products and vaccines.
  • Innovative manufacturing technologies being used for other vaccines offer many advantages and may have relevance to HIV vaccines.
  • Collaboration and partnerships are key for HIV vaccine development.

The ACO will release a report on the meeting in the near future.