The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will donate US$287 million to promote collaborative vaccine efforts against AIDS, a newspaper report said on Thursday.
Under the donation which is divided into 16 grants, an international network focused on vaccine development will be established, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The donation is aimed at shifting the development process from independent efforts in separate laboratories to large-scale collaborative efforts involving many labs and countries, said the foundation in an earlier announcement.
"Traditional ways of making vaccines, which have worked well against other diseases, have largely failed for HIV," Dr. Giuseppe Pantaleo of the Vaudois University Hospital Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, was quoted as saying. The center is one of the grantees.
There are nearly 100 AIDS vaccine candidates in trials around the world, but experts say none is likely to provide significant protection against the virus.
Eleven of the grants, totaling US$195 million, are for multinational projects to improve the ability of potential vaccines to stimulate the two kinds of immunity: The first would elicit antibodies that attack HIV; the second would stimulate a cellular response that destroys infected cells before viruses reproduce, the paper said.
The other five grants, totaling US$92 million, are for establishing central laboratories to enhance collaboration among the researchers.
The Gates Foundation has already donated more than US$6 billion for health purposes around the world, including US$1.5 billion for the development of vaccines for malaria and other diseases.
Last month, financier Warren E. Buffett announced he would donate an estimated US$31 billion to the Gates Foundation, bringing its total endowment to more than US$60 billion.
(Xinhua News Agency July 21, 2006)