Aeras and IAVI Partner to Highlight Role of Vaccines at AIDS2016

Panellists during the “Vaccines are Needed to Conclusively End HIV/AIDS and TB” session:  (l – r) R. Labode Member of Parliament from Zimbabwe; Peter Godfrey-Faussett of UNAIDS; Eric Goosby, UN Special Envoy on Tuberculosis; Nomampondo Barnabas, The Union; Mitchell Warren, AVAC; Jacqueline Shea, Aeras; and  Mark Feinberg, IAVI

 

This year’s annual International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa included some exciting new features, including TB2016, a new two-day conference immediately preceding AIDS2016 to focus new attention on the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic. Aeras was pleased to be a sponsor of this conference in order to draw global attention to this deadly co-epidemic.

Following the TB2016 conference, Aeras worked in other ways to draw additional attention to the TB epidemic and the HIV-TB co-epidemic at the AIDS2016 main conference, including developing and sponsoring a symposium with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), held July 18, “Vaccines are Needed to Conclusively End HIV/AIDS and TB.” The session’s goal was to create a forum to discuss the important role of vaccine development to end the HIV/AIDS and TB epidemics, as well as explore how researchers for each of these diseases can learn from each other to advance vaccine R&D. “This symposium is based on the recognition that we will not end the HIV epidemic without also ending TB and demonstrates the importance of organizations like IAVI and Aeras partnering to bring leaders in both fields together for joint discussions,” said Aeras CEO Jacqueline E. Shea, PhD. "We are excited about the novel perspectives, ideas and opportunities that arose from these discussions and look forward to more in the future.”

The session, which attracted more than 200 attendees, started with an overview of vaccine research and development for both TB and HIV/AIDS by Glenda Gray, President of the South African Medical Research Council, and was followed by an extensive panel discussion facilitated by AVAC's Mitchell Warren. Panelists included Amb. Eric Goosby, UN Special Envoy on Tuberculosis; Peter Godfrey-Faussett, UNAIDS; R. Labode, Member of Parliament from Zimbabwe; Glenda Gray, President South African Medical Research Council; Nomampondo Barnabas, The Union; Jacqueline Shea, CEO of Aeras; and Mark Feinberg, CEO of IAVI, representing a wide range of expertise in TB and HIV vaccine science, policy and community engagement.

Panelists, with input from the audience, discussed progress in vaccine development for HIV/AIDS and TB, as well as the challenges faced, and the potential for enhanced collaboration between TB and HIV vaccine researchers and developers. Discussion focused on the need for more political advocacy to support vaccine research (particularly for TB), the need to bring together experts from beyond the TB and HIV fields to accelerate innovation, the important role communities and civil society can play in demanding attention for these epidemics and for effective, accessible vaccines, and encouragement for a “renaissance” of investment in African-led science, among other issues.