IAVI REPORT – VOL. 16, NO. 1, 2012

Vol. 16, No. 1 - Jan.-Feb. 2012Cover Art

When I think back to when I first started writing for IAVI Report, I can recall being concerned that there wouldn’t be enough happening in AIDS vaccine research to justify authoring article after article on the topic. Was I wrong! Seven years later, I am still surprised by just how much is happening in vaccine research and related fields, and how many new developments there are to report on.

In this issue, we tackle the most recent developments in HIV cure research and some of the parallels between this field and vaccine research (see In Pursuit of a Cure). Another feature article examines how the global recession has triggered a funding crisis at The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which provides a quarter of the international funding for HIV/AIDS programs throughout the world (seeThe Global Fund's Uncertain Future).

On the vaccine front, we describe the details of two new trials that began recently (see Vaccine Briefs), and also review two recent studies that highlight both the promise and the pitfalls of using adenovirus (Ad) vectors as the delivery apparatus for HIV vaccine candidates (see Adenovirus Vectors: Promise and Possible Pitfalls). The first Ad vector-based candidate (Ad serotype 5), tested in the STEP trial, failed to provide any effect. Researchers are still analyzing data from this trial, and another trial of the same vaccine candidate, and are learning more about how pre-existing immunity to Ad5 may hamper immune responses to HIV. Unfortunately, their analysis suggests that other Ad vectors based on different serotypes might also face these same problems. Yet, these alternate Ad vectors have also shown promise in pre-clinical studies. For now, researchers are pushing ahead with testing these alternate Ad vectors.

Finally, on a personal note, I want to introduce a few changes that will be taking place at IAVI Report. Starting in March, I will be taking maternity leave and handing over the reigns as Editor to Unmesh Kher, a gifted writer and editor whose work has graced the pages of everything from Nature to TIME. Because of my leave, we will also be publishing four print issues of IAVI Report instead of six this year. To fill the gap, we will be publishing more online-only features, so I hope you will visit www.iavireport.org often.

I’m sure that upon my return, there will be plenty of news and progress to report, baby-related and otherwise.

—Kristen Jill Kresge, Managing Editor