BETHESDA, Md. -- Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation today announced a $925,000 cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct epidemiologic studies in preparation for clinical trials of new tuberculosis (TB) vaccines in India.
The funding is renewable for up to three years. Aeras has received major funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, but the cooperative agreement with CDC marks
the first government contribution to Aeras, the world's leading organization
working to develop new vaccines against TB, a bacterial disease that kills 2
million people worldwide each year.
"We look forward to working with the CDC to rapidly move promising vaccine
candidates into clinical trials," said Aeras CEO Dr. Jerald Sadoff. "This
critical support from the U..S government marks significant progress in
addressing the serious shortfall in international TB vaccine funding and will
hasten the day when an effective vaccine is available."
Aeras will work with the CDC and collaborators at the St. John's National
Academy of Health Sciences in Bangalore, India to develop and expand sites for
Phase II and Phase III clinical trials in Palamaner Taluk, Andhra Pradesh,
India. The cooperative agreement will help Aeras create a professional
development program for staff in India, develop laboratory capacity for TB
diagnosis and referral systems to treat and cure patients, examine TB
incidence and prevalence, and further study TB incidence among newborns and
adolescents in this southern part of India.
The funding will be used to prepare the site to administer later phase
trials of the leading vaccine candidates now being developed by Aeras. The
leading killer of people living with HIV/AIDS, TB represents one of the most
prevalent infectious diseases throughout the world. The currently-available
vaccine, BCG, is nearly a century old and rarely protects beyond early
Although spending on TB vaccine research accounts for only a small
fraction of funding dedicated to vaccine research for other diseases, TB
vaccine development has made rapid progress in recent years. The Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation more than doubled the level of global TB vaccine
funding in February 2004 with an $82.9 million grant to Aeras, and it is
likely that at least six phase I trials of TB vaccine candidates will be
initiated between 2002 and 2005. Despite the Gates grant and the promise of
new collaboration with the CDC, Aeras must raise over $250 million to fully
fund its scientific program between now and 2010.
In making the award, the CDC recognized Aeras for "innovative work in
advancing the field of TB vaccine development" and cited the organization's
history of collaboration with international partners in South Africa, Europe
and Asia. The CDC also acknowledged the important field of vaccine development
in combating a disease that has mutated into drug-resistant strains and
requires a complex treatment regimen.
Source: Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation