TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

Feds seek more assistance in design, testing of vaccines against HIV in humans

The main goal of a current federal Funding Opportunity Announcement is to examine vaccines that have been shown to prevent SIV and SHIV infection in nonhuman primates and determine how they work, says James A. Bradac, chief of the main National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases branch overseeing this FOA.

Specifically, NIAID wants to fund a study of a vaccine that’s been shown to have protected at least a subset of nonhuman primates from the lethal SIV/SHIV, or Simian Immunodeficiency Virus and Simian-Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The deadline to apply for funding is July 29.

“This information hopefully will aid the design and testing of vaccines against HIV in humans,” Bradac told Vaccine News Daily. He is chief of the preclinical research and development branch in the Vaccine Research Program of the NIAID Division of AIDS.

“A secondary goal of the FOA is to use nonhuman primate models to help identify regimens composed of both combination antiretroviral therapy and a vaccine that could potentially put HIV into sustained remission in people with HIV infection,” Bradac said this week.

The NIAID grant will provide funding for a collaborative, multidisciplinary research consortium. NIAID intends to commit $10 million in FY 2016 to fund two to four awards, he said.

Currently, NIAID is funding two nonhuman primate consortia that are attempting to decipher the mechanism of protection of four partially effective SIV vaccines, according to Bradac.

“Much of the research thus far has focused on determining exactly what the process of SIV infection looks like in nonhuman primates -- an essential first step for ascertaining how an effective vaccine alters this process,” Bradac told Vaccine News Daily. “The mechanism of protection studies are now well under way with very interesting preliminary findings,” for which he did not elaborate.

The FOA is online at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AI-15-022.html.