International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI)

Partnership objectives

  1. Ensure the development of preventive AIDS vaccines that are safe, effective, and accessible to all people.
  2. Invest majority of resources in the research and clinical assessment of candidate vaccines against strains of HIV that are prevalent in the developing world, where 95% of new HIV infections occur.

Researchers and policymakers are today increasingly convinced that an AIDS vaccine is possible and could help significantly slow the spread of HIV. Researchers and policymakers are today increasingly convinced that an AIDS vaccine is possible and could help significantly slow the spread of HIV. Copyright GlaxoSmithKline

What are the health needs and challenges?

More than 36 million people have died due to AIDS-related causes since the pandemic began and millions more are newly infected with the virus each year. Global efforts to battle the pandemic are making a significant difference; still, AIDS remains the sixth leading cause of death in low-income countries, according to the World Health Organization. The most vulnerable and impoverished people in the world continue to bear the heaviest burden of this merciless disease: sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 70% of new HIV infections in 2012.

The best long-term solution to the growing global AIDS epidemic is a vaccine, which does not yet exist.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) was created in 1996 out of recognition that the best long-term solution to the growing AIDS epidemic was a vaccine. As a global organization operating across borders to meet the challenges posed by the epidemic, IAVI works to ensure the development of safe, effective, accessible and preventive HIV vaccines for use throughout the world. IAVI's work focuses on four areas:

  • Support through advocacy and education (by identifying and filling other scientific gaps);
  • Scientific progress (by supporting promising vaccine development partnerships);
  • Industrial participation in AIDS vaccine development (by expanding public-private collaboration and creating incentives for private sector investment and participation in HIV vaccine development); and
  • Global access (by creating the policies necessary for getting the vaccines to all those who need it).

The International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) works with its partners to ensure the development of safe, effective, accessible and preventive HIV vaccines for use throughout the world.

IAVI‘s scientific team works with more than 50 academic, commercial and government institutions to develop and assess candidate HIV vaccines. IAVI has partnered with local research institutions to develop a network of sophisticated laboratories in India and in southern and eastern Africa. IAVI also has brought leading HIV researchers together into scientific consortia, including the Neutralizing Antibody Consortium and the Vectors Consortium, to address key obstacles to the development of an effective AIDS vaccine and to generate novel candidates.

Uniquely positioned to rapidly move novel vaccine candidates from the academic bench to clinical testing in the developing world, IAVI’s success comes in part from an end-to-end network of 10 collaborating clinical research centers in Africa, in-house research laboratories and external academic, government and industry collaborators. In developing countries, IAVI works closely with governmental, community and civic organizations to ensure the transparent and ethical conduct of clinical trials. IAVI helps educate people about vaccine trials and the need for AIDS vaccines and also helps build both the clinical and scientific capacity required to run a long-term program of vaccine trials.

IAVI also analyzes and develops policies to promote the involvement of the private sector in AIDS vaccine research and development, advocating for policies that will ensure that once an AIDS vaccine is developed, it will be swiftly produced, distributed and made affordable worldwide.IAVI conducts leading-edge vaccine science with top laboratories around the world and harnesses innovation from within and beyond the HIV vaccine field to introduce new tools, technologies and concepts to change the arc of AIDS vaccine science.

In 2005, GlaxoSmithKline launched the first formal public-private partnership with IAVI to research vaccines against HIV strains that circulate predominantly in Africa. IAVI and GSK contributed technical, preclinical and clinical expertise and shared funding; researchers from both groups formed a joint project team. They evaluated the combination of two vaccine candidates (the F4/AS01 adjuvanted protein developed by GSK and the Adenovirus 35-GRIN vaccine developed by IAVI) up to Phase I clinical trial in which long term follow-up is currently ongoing. 

Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and  IAVI entered into an agreement to develop an HIV vaccine based on the company's AdVac adenovirus vector technology and obtained the rights from J&J to use a cell line for these vectors. A Phase I clinical trial evaluating safety and immunogenicity of a candidate vaccine based on this technology started in 2009.

In August 2010 Janssen and IAVI announced their participation in an international Phase I clinical trial in the United States and Africa of a combination of two Ad-based AIDS vaccine candidates, Ad26.ENVA.01 and Ad35-ENV, in healthy adults who are not infected with HIV. The clinical trial, led by IAVI has started in October 2010, representing a collaboration between IAVI, Janssen, the Ragon Institute, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), a major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School.

Lessons learned             

Perhaps the most critical roadblock to the development of an effective AIDS vaccine arises from HIV’s uncanny ability to avoid neutralization by antibodies. However, a handful of antibodies capable of shutting down the many variants of the virus have been isolated from HIV-infected individuals.

Work done within IAVI’s Neutralizing Antibody Consortium (NAC) has since exposed not only how each of the known neutralizing antibodies manages to shut down HIV, but also how the virus shields its vulnerable spots from immune attack. This information is now being harnessed by NAC scientists to devise new approaches to developing AIDS vaccine candidates.

Summary of impact and forward looking information

Researchers and policymakers are today increasingly convinced that an AIDS vaccine is possible and could help significantly slow the spread of HIV. Scientists have isolated and closely analyzed dozens of exceptionally potent antibodies that neutralize a broad spectrum of HIV variants circulating around the world.

To date, some 30 AIDS vaccine clinical trials are ongoing, predominantly in early stages (Phases I and II).


The World Needs an AIDS Vaccine

How An AIDS Vaccine Might Work

A Woman's Story

Partnership information

Company(ies) Bristol-Myers Squibb , GlaxoSmithKline , Johnson & Johnson

Partner(s) Basque Autonomous Government, BD (Becton Dickinson), Beth Israel Deaconess Center, Harvard Medical, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Broadway Cares - Equity Fights AIDS, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Carlsberg Group, City of New York, Economic Development Corporation, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, EMMES Corp., European Union, Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, Gilead Foundation, Glickenhaus Foundation, Google, Hale Foundation, Indian Ministry of Science & Technology, Institut Mérieux, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Irish Aid, James B. Pendleton Charitable Trust, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), Norwegian Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, OPEC Fund for International Development, Proskauer Rose LLP, Ragon Institute, Rockefeller Foundation, Shearman & Sterling LLP, Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Starr Foundation, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), Thermo Fisher Scientific, UK Department for International Development (DFID), United Airlines, US Agency for International Development (USAID), US National Institutes of Health (NIH), White & Case LLP, World Bank

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals, Government, IGOs, NGOs, Other Business, PDPs

Therapeutic Focus Infectious Diseases

Disease(s) HIV/AIDS

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Technology Transfer - Scientific Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing, Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach, Prevention Programs - Vaccines, Research & Development - Development of Treatments, Research & Development - Operations Research

Targeted Population(s) Children, Men, Mothers, Patients in needs of treatment, People with low income, Women, Youth

Region(s) East Asia & Pacific, Europe & Central Asia, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East & North Africa, North America, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 182

Country(ies) Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, Norway, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Gambia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, West Bank and Gaza, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Start Date 1996

More information IAVI Website

Anticipated completion date Ongoing