Government of Canada Announces Alliance to Spearhead Global Fight Against HIV

Government of Canada Announces Alliance to Spearhead Global Fight Against HIV
(VIENNA, Austria) - Today, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, on behalf of her colleagues, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, and the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, and in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced the renewed Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative (CHVI), which features the creation of the CHVI Research and Development Alliance. The Alliance will enable Canada to be a leading contributor to global efforts in developing a safe, effective, affordable and globally accessible HIV vaccine.

"Through the launch of the CHIV Research and Development Alliance, Canada continues to lead the way in the global fight against HIV and AIDS," said Minister Aglukkaq. "Today's announcement reflects our Government's continuing commitment to help find a cure for this devastating virus which crosses borders, cultures, genders and backgrounds."

The CHVI Research and Development Alliance is a network in Canada that brings together leading researchers from the public and private sectors, as well as the international community, to develop innovative solutions to the challenges facing HIV vaccine development. The Alliance will focus on scientific excellence and a number of significant investments to help researchers get potential HIV vaccines from the lab to internationally recognized clinical trials.

"Canada has the expertise, experience and resources to make a significant contribution to this global effort to develop HIV vaccines," said Minister Clement. "For one, the Government of Canada is proud to invest in the development of technology, and engage the world-leading capacities of our private sector to help accelerate the development of an HIV vaccine."

Another important component of the renewed CHVI is the Government of Canada‘s investments, through the Canadian International Development Agency, in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in low- and middle-income countries. The investment is intended to help deliver improved access, better services and programs, and a higher level of education about HIV with the goal of reducing the number of HIV positive mothers who transfer the virus to their unborn children. This may help pave the way for the introduction and acceptance of an HIV vaccine when it becomes available.

"As the development of an HIV vaccine will take time, it is important to continue to support global HIV prevention to reduce infection rates," said Minister Oda. "Our investment demonstrates that we are committed to addressing HIV and contributing to solutions globally to slow its spread."

The Government of Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recognize that input and support from the HIV research and HIV/AIDS service organization communities, both in Canada and internationally, are integral to making the CHVI a success. Consultations will be organized with these groups in the coming months to gather input on how best to implement the CHVI Research and Development Alliance, and to determine how the Alliance can best contribute to achieving the goals and priorities of the upcoming 2010 Scientific Strategic Plan of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise.

"We recognize Canada's significant contribution to the global effort to find a safe and effective HIV vaccine," said Dr. Stefano Bertozzi, Director of the HIV Global Health Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "This approach marks a significant step forward in the work to find a safe and effective HIV vaccine."

While the Government of Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation were developing the Alliance, work on the CHVI's existing programs has continued.

As part of its $60 million commitment to the CHVI, the Canadian International Development Agency's has committed $16 million over five years to support research teams in Africa. The teams will work to strengthen the capacity of African researchers and institutions to carry out future HIV/AIDS prevention trials in Africa. CIDA is providing this funding to the Global Health Research Initiative, which is providing, in turn, research grants to support seven Canada-Africa research teams over 2009-2014.

Through the CHVI Emerging Team Grant program, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) recently awarded $2 million over five years to two research teams in Canada. This investment will fund collaborative Canadian research in HIV vaccine discovery and social policy, and will help to facilitate knowledge sharing and capacity building in the research field.

For more information -  Renewed CHVI Factsheet

Media Inquiries:

Jenny VanAlstyne
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
(613) 957-0200

Public Health Agency of Canada
Media Relations
(613) 941-8189