Emory University is hosting an 800-panel display of The AIDS Memorial Quilt in recognition of World AIDS Day. â€œQuilt on the Quad,â€ on the Emory quadrangle, is the largest collegiate display and the second largest in the world today. An opening ceremony featured a talk by Sandra Thurman, president and CEO of the International AIDS Trust, based at Emoryâ€™s Rollins School of Public Health. Members of the Emory community read the names of each individual memorialized by a quilt panel on the quad.
An estimated 60 million people have acquired HIV, and 25 million people have died from AIDS. Emory scientists and physicians have been leaders in research to develop effective drugs and vaccines against HIV and AIDS. The Emory Center for AIDS Research is an official National Institutes of Health CFAR site. More than 120 faculty throughout Emory are working on some aspect of HIV/AIDS prevention or treatment.
More than 94 percent of HIV patients in the U.S. on life saving antiviral therapy take a drug developed at Emory. And many of the scientists within the Emory Vaccine Center are focused on finding an effective vaccine against HIV. A vaccine developed at the Vaccine Center and Yerkes National Primate Research Center is being tested nationally in a phase II clinical trial.
The Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center is conducting several clinical trials of HIV vaccine candidates through the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) sponsored by the NIH. The HVTN 505 vaccine trial, which is currently enrolling at the Hope Clinic and 13 other cities around the country, is a test-of-concept efficacy trial for an NIH vaccine (DNA + Adnovirus â€“ gag/pol/nef/EnvABC).
Mark Mulligan, MD, executive director of Emoryâ€™s Hope Clinic, emphasizes that on World AIDS Day there would be no better way to honor those who have already died or are already infected than to produce a vaccine that will protect their families and friends.
â€œThe recent analysis of the RV144 Thai trial surprisingly taught us that an envelope glycoprotein vaccine regimen can protect (albeit modestly, thus far)! This is an amazing result that has re-ignited the field, and is capturing the attention of the community. We must do all we can to leverage this result for success,â€ Mulligan says. â€œAlbert Sabin said that no scientist can rest while a vaccine that might help humanity sits on the shelf. To me, this underscores the importance of successfully executing the HVTN 505 trial.â€