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OHSU Scientist Awarded $25 Million Grant for HIV Vaccine Research

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

 

Photo Credit: NIAID via Compfight cc

A $25 million grant awarded to the head of HIV vaccine research at Oregon Health and Science University, Louis Picker, will fund research and testing of a vaccine that fights a similar virus in monkeys. 

This news preceeds Portland's largest annual HIV and AIDS fundraiser, AIDS Walk Portland, by just a couple days. 

The grant comes from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is the among the largest Philanthropic grants the hospital has ever received, according to OHSU. 

The vaccine has already been tested on monkeys and the grant will allow researchers to test the safety of a prototype human version of the vaccine in a phase of clinical trials, according to Picker. 

"It's a critical step in vaccine development," said Picker. "This important work could not happen without this remarkable investment from the Gates Foundation. I believe their grant will help us kill this disease for good." 

Picker and his team said the vaccine shows promise in not only preventing the HIV virus from establishing infection in exposed, uninfected individuals, but also holds the hope of eliminating the virus from people who are already infected.

The Gates Foundation already supported Picker's team with an $8 million grant in January 2012. That, along with National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding, helped the lab make significant progress on its vaccine work, according to OHSU.

OHSU President Joe Robertson said he's incredibly grateful for the Gates Foundation's support, and that Dr. Picker's research is at the leading edge of a process that might eliminate HIV from humans.

"This is great news for OHSU but even better news for the fight against HIV and AIDS," said Robertson.

 

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