Over the past three decades, it is estimated that HIV has infected more than 60 million people worldwide and claimed nearly 30 million lives. Through scientific advances and improved access to treatment, collectively, we have decreased the incidence of HIV; nonetheless, more remains to be done.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is committed to a comprehensive, long-term approach to address HIV/AIDS including advancing the development of an HIV vaccine. A key component of this approach is the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative (CHVI), a multi-year partnership between the Government of Canada and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Since the CHVI was established in 2007, it has provided support for domestic and international projects to improve collaborations in HIV vaccine discovery and social research, enhanced capacity for vaccine trials, supported policy development, and enhanced community awareness and education activities.
Through the CHVI, five new research teams are dedicating their work to accelerating the development of a safe and effective HIV vaccine. This work will help strengthen the links between Canadian and other global researchers and will enable faster sharing of research data and knowledge.
The CHVI partners have also established a Research and Development Alliance Coordinating Office (ACO) at the International Centre of Infectious Diseases in Winnipeg. The ACO will apply its considerable expertise to identify gaps in the HIV vaccine field, facilitate the development of innovative projects and work with partners to help support the next generation of HIV vaccine researchers.
Through our laboratory expertise, we support international efforts to develop a global strategy for preventing, tracking and monitoring HIV drug resistance, and to prepare countries with knowledge, skills, and systems to respond should drug-resistant HIV epidemics emerge.
Science is critical to improving the quality of life of Canadians. Advances in treatment have already helped prolong the lives and improve the quality of life of people living with HIV or AIDS. The development of an HIV vaccine is one of the greatest scientific challenges of our time; however, with our collective efforts, our goal of having a safe, effective, affordable and globally accessible HIV vaccine can be realized.
On World AIDS Vaccine Day let’s celebrate our Canadian researchers, community representatives and global partners for their dedication to the development of an HIV vaccine and continued efforts in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
For more information on the CHVI, please visit www.chvi-icvv.gc.ca.