TSRI scientist receives Gates Foundation grants for AIDS vaccine

TSRI scientist receives Gates Foundation grants for AIDS vaccine | Courtesy of
A researcher from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) recently received two grants amounting to $4.5 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in order to develop an HIV/AIDS vaccine.

The new financing was granted through the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD) program of the foundation. It will fund new tools for the High Resolution Electron Microscopy Facility at TSRI.

“We are delighted by the Gates Foundation’s support of this critical work,” Jim Paulson, acting president and CEO of TSRI, said. “With 35 million infected individuals worldwide, an effective HIV vaccine is urgently needed to slow and ultimately eliminate new infections.”

The new tools will capture high-resolution images of the interactions between antibodies and HIV proteins. This provides scientists with a literal picture of the most effective immunogens as well as other details.

“This puts everything under one roof so we can better evaluate HIV vaccine candidates,” Andrew Ward, the TSRI associate professor who will lead the five-year initiative, said.

There have been recent innovations in electron microscopy, allowing scientists to gather and analyze more detailed images of illnesses than they ever have before.

“HIV is the Mt. Everest of viruses,” Ward said. “This is an effort to screen immunogens and vaccines that have a high likelihood of success.”

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