CONRAD receives $28.5M Gates Foundation grant for HIV prevention research

November 30, 2007

Arlington, VA (November 30, 2007) - The CONRAD Program of the Eastern Virginia Medical School today announced that it has received a $28.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop microbicides for HIV prevention. To date, the Gates Foundation has awarded a total of $65 million to CONRAD for microbicide research.

The award will support the development of new combination microbicides, research on novel and improved in vitro and small-animal models to test microbicide safety and efficacy, validation of clinical biomarkers and testing of the new microbicide candidates for clinical safety.

"Despite setbacks in the HIV prevention field over the past year, the global effort to develop effective new prevention tools, including microbicides, must go on," said Henry Gabelnick, Executive Director of CONRAD. "We are grateful for the continued support of the Gates Foundation, and we are inspired by its commitment to making real progress in global health."

Microbicides are topical substances used intravaginally to potentially prevent HIV infection. Effective microbicides could be an important HIV prevention option for women, who account for approximately half of all people living with HIV globally.

CONRAD has served as a resource for the microbicide field for the past twenty years, and in that capacity, has provided support for preclinical, early clinical research and Phase III clinical trials for several microbicide candidates, many of which were funded by the Gates Foundation and/or USAID. New microbicide candidates CONRAD is currently researching contain several ingredients with different types of activity against HIV. Dr. Gabelnick continued, "Due to the multiple pathways involved in mucosal infection and the number of new infections attributable to viruses that contain drug resistance-associated mutations, development of a combination microbicide is likely to be important to achieve successful prevention of sexual transmission of HIV."

"The microbicide field has accumulated a wealth of experience and understanding that is critical for accelerating progress toward an effective microbicide," said Dr. Gustavo Doncel, Director of Preclinical Research at CONRAD. "The contributions of the Gates Foundation have created a synergy within the microbicide field that we hope will result in the development of a tool that will be a major advance in the fight against HIV."

Even if the first microbicide that is approved is not 100% effective, modeling studies suggest that it could still have a major impact on public health, provided it is used in combination with other HIV prevention methods.
-end-
CONRAD is a cooperating agency of USAID committed to improving reproductive health by expanding the contraceptive choices of women and men and by helping to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. CONRAD is a Division of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) in Norfolk, VA, where it has laboratories and a clinical research center. The main office is located in Arlington, VA with additional offices in Atlanta, GA and West Chester, PA.

CONRAD

Related HIV Articles from Brightsurf:

BEAT-HIV Delaney collaboratory issues recommendations measuring persistent HIV reservoirs
Spearheaded by Wistar scientists, top worldwide HIV researchers from the BEAT-HIV Martin Delaney Collaboratory to Cure HIV-1 Infection by Combination Immunotherapy (BEAT-HIV Collaboratory) compiled the first comprehensive set of recommendations on how to best measure the size of persistent HIV reservoirs during cure-directed clinical studies.

The Lancet HIV: Study suggests a second patient has been cured of HIV
A study of the second HIV patient to undergo successful stem cell transplantation from donors with a HIV-resistant gene, finds that there was no active viral infection in the patient's blood 30 months after they stopped anti-retroviral therapy, according to a case report published in The Lancet HIV journal and presented at CROI (Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections).

Children with HIV score below HIV-negative peers in cognitive, motor function tests
Children who acquired HIV in utero or during birth or breastfeeding did not perform as well as their peers who do not have HIV on tests measuring cognitive ability, motor function and attention, according to a report published online today in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Efforts to end the HIV epidemic must not ignore people already living with HIV
Efforts to prevent new HIV transmissions in the US must be accompanied by addressing HIV-associated comorbidities to improve the health of people already living with HIV, NIH experts assert in the third of a series of JAMA commentaries.

The Lancet HIV: Severe anti-LGBT legislations associated with lower testing and awareness of HIV in African countries
This first systematic review to investigate HIV testing, treatment and viral suppression in men who have sex with men in Africa finds that among the most recent studies (conducted after 2011) only half of men have been tested for HIV in the past 12 months.

The Lancet HIV: Tenfold increase in number of adolescents on HIV treatment in South Africa since 2010, but many still untreated
A new study of more than 700,000 one to 19-year olds being treated for HIV infection suggests a ten-fold increase in the number of adolescents aged 15 to 19 receiving HIV treatment in South Africa, according to results published in The Lancet HIV journal.

Starting HIV treatment in ERs may be key to ending HIV spread worldwide
In a follow-up study conducted in South Africa, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they have evidence that hospital emergency departments (EDs) worldwide may be key strategic settings for curbing the spread of HIV infections in hard-to-reach populations if the EDs jump-start treatment and case management as well as diagnosis of the disease.

NIH HIV experts prioritize research to achieve sustained ART-free HIV remission
Achieving sustained remission of HIV without life-long antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a top HIV research priority, according to a new commentary in JAMA by experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The Lancet HIV: PrEP implementation is associated with a rapid decline in new HIV infections
Study from Australia is the first to evaluate a population-level roll-out of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in men who have sex with men.

Researchers date 'hibernating' HIV strains, advancing BC's leadership in HIV cure research
Researchers have developed a novel way for dating 'hibernating' HIV strains, in an advancement for HIV cure research.

Read More: HIV News and HIV Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.