n Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine - South African aids vaccine initiative : working, not waiting : vaccines

Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1608-9693
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6751



The South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative (SAAVI) was established in 1999 to co-ordinate the quest for ab locally relevant HIV/AIDS vaccine far the region. The overall goal of the initiative is to develop a safe, effective, affordable and accessible vaccine for the South African population by the year 2005. SAAVI is a national project sanctioned by the South African government and has the status of a lead project within the Medical Research Council (MRC). The initiative is a public-private partnership with funding from both government and non-governmental sources: direct funding comes from the Department of Health; the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology; and Eskom (the national electricity supplier); and indirect funding, from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). Further private sector funding will be sought, particularly from other international agencies and biotechnology companies. SAAVI is governed by a Steering Committee with representation from the Department of Health, funders, the MRC and other stakeholders. A Scientific Advisory Committee, consisting of high-profile local and international scientists, and an Ethics Committee, make scientific decisions. The research and development process is multicentred and multidisciplinary in its approach, focusing on vaccine development, vaccine trials and testing, advocacy and education, and ethics. There is also an important emphasis on capacity development - investing in skills and infrastructure to encourage the growth and expansion of vaccinology and the development of the country's scientists and scientific process. The ultimate hope is for a locally produced vaccine that is affordable to the greater population.

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