Gates Foundation provides $23.4 million grant for HIV/AIDS vaccine

An association led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has granted $23.4 million to the University of Maryland School of Medicine for research on an HIV/AIDS vaccine.

The research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine began in 2002 and has shown promising results in laboratory studies, according to

The vaccine is reportedly capable of neutralizing many different strains of the disease. Most previous vaccines, according to the scientists, target only single strains or narrow ranges of the disease.

The AIDS virus’ ability to mutate has dampened efforts to find a single cure, reports. AIDS remains difficult for antibodies to track because it is capable of constantly changing the frame of proteins located on its surface.

The new vaccine has been said to be more effective because it targets sections and regions that are common across HIV strains rather than the proteins that may be different in each one.

In addition to helping the development of a new AIDS vaccine, the funding will also help to develop a new HIV blood test, reports.

At the end of 2009, it was estimated that more than 30 million people suffered from HIV/AIDS infection. Women account for just over half of all AIDS cases worldwide.