Gates Foundation Gives $6M To HIV Vaccine Study

The Gates Foundation has donated nearly $6M to a promising HIV vaccine study underway at Florida Atlantic University. Via University Press:

The vaccine, created by Scripps Research Institute professor Michael Farzan, has showed consistently effective results after being tested on lab animals. The grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will help fund his research for the next four years. “I’m grateful to the Gates Foundation for its strong support of our research and for its continued commitment to eradicating HIV/AIDS throughout the world,” Farzan said in the news release. The vaccine causes muscle tissue to release proteins that attach to the virus and trick it into thinking it bonded to a human cell. It then floats through the bloodstream, harmless and unable to reproduce. After receiving the vaccine, lab animals were protected from the HIV infection for up to a year.

More from the Scripps Institute:

Farzan and colleagues’ breakthrough research received worldwide attention when announced earlier this year in the journal Nature. When the drug candidate, called eCD4-lg, was tested in the laboratory and in animal models, the results were so powerful and universally effective that they suggested the compound’s potential to serve the role of an alternative HIV/AIDS vaccine. The drug candidate offered complete protection of animal models against the virus for up to one year. “Our compound eCD4-Ig is the broadest and most potent entry inhibitor described so far, effective against all strains tested,” Farzan said. “At the end of our research, we expect to have enough evidence to develop a firm foundation to fully evaluate its potential as an alternative vaccine.”