Microbicide partners receive $5.7 million from Gates Foundation

04/29/05

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 2, 2005) – The Alliance for Microbicide Development and the Global Campaign for Microbicides today announced that they have received grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that will fund a powerful strategy to support development of safe, effective, and affordable microbicides. The Alliance will receive $2.8 million and the Global Campaign will receive $2.9 million, for a total sum of $5.7 million.

Over the course of the next three years, the sister organizations will use the grants for science and policy research, public education, and advocacy. The Alliance for Microbicide Development will continue to speed the development of microbicides by collaborating with researchers, policy-makers, and health experts to track the microbicide pipeline, clarify and influence regulatory processes, problem-solve, and conduct research and convene participants around critical issues.

"Without the generosity of the Gates Foundation, our efforts to develop microbicides would be delayed by years," said Polly Harrison, Director of the Alliance for Microbicide Development. "Developing and delivering a safe and effective microbicide requires not just good science, but creative thinking about how to identify good products and test them wisely and well. The Gates Foundation grant will be critical to developing the evidence base that is needed for making good microbicide R&D policy and productive investments."

The Global Campaign for Microbicides, which is housed at PATH, will continue their efforts to accelerate product development through advocacy, policy analysis, and social science research.

Lori Heise, Director of the Global Campaign for Microbicides, said, "A coordinated public education and advocacy strategy is critical to getting microbicides to women. Where profit motives are insufficient to attract private sector investment, as is the case with microbicides, success depends on sustained public investment and community good will. The Gates Foundation grant will facilitate the testing of microbicides by supporting advocacy groups in developing countries to engage as full partners in the scientific process."

Of the 14,000 people infected with HIV daily worldwide, half are women. In the United States, girls make up the majority of all new HIV infections among teenagers, with most acquiring the virus through heterosexual intercourse.

The microbicide field has built an extraordinary amount of scientific momentum, with several first-generation candidates entering large-scale human trials around the world. At the same time, new products, based upon recent advances in HIV treatment, are already well into safety trials. Given current scientific advancements, and the identification of a number of potential microbicidal agents, an effective microbicide could be developed by the end of the decade, and once available, could well change the course of the AIDS epidemic.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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