CHAVI History

The Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology (CHAVI) was one of two implementation projects under the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, the other being the  Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD). In July 2005, the NIAID awarded the CHAVI grant to a consortium of investigators from Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Oxford University, and the University of Alabama-Birmingham, led by Dr. Barton Haynes.

The CHAVI tested new vaccine strategies to overcome key immunological roadblocks in HIV vaccine design. These roadblocks include a lack of understanding of the correlates of protective immunity to HIV-1 and a lack of vectors and immunogens that can induce protective, durable immune responses at mucosal sites. The CHAVI studied the transmitted virus and the biological events that occur during transmission. The CHAVI helped to define protective innate and adaptive host defenses against HIV in humans and SIV in primates.

The overall goals of the CHAVI were as follows:

  1. Determine the viral and immunological events and host genetic factors associated with HIV transmission, infection and (partial) containment of virus replication
  2. Develop novel HIV-1 vectors, immunogens and adjuvants that suppress viral replication and elicit persistent mucosal and/or systemic immune responses
  3. Use SIV infection in primates as a model for HIV infection in humans and determine the factors that lead to mucosal protection from SIV in primates
  4. Test novel HIV-1 vaccine candidates in phase I clinical trials

The Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise

In 2003, international scientific leaders called for a Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise to address the need for a concentrated global effort to combat the AIDS epidemic, which by 2003, had infected more than 40 million people world-wide (Science). The proposal for the Enterprise recognized that research efforts at the time did not have the degree of collaboration nor the funding needed to successfully develop and test novel HIV vaccine candidates. By promoting global collaboration, the Enterprise served to complement existing research endeavors rather than replace them. The design of the Enterprise emphasized an iterative process among investigators based on information sharing, common resources, and the identification and prioritization of scientific challenges. Because of this collaborative design, the Enterprise is not an organization, but an alliance of global investigators modeled after the Human Genome Project.

The Enterprise developed a Scientific Strategic Plan in January 2005 (PLoS Med). The priorities of the Strategic Plan include Vaccine Discovery, Laboratory Standardization, Intellectual Property, Product Development & Manufacturing, Clinical Trials Capacity, and Regulatory Issues.

In June 2004, the Enterprise was endorsed by members of the G8 Summit in Sea Island, Georgia and US President Bush and the National Institutes of Health announced plans to establish a second HIV Vaccine Research and Development Center in the US. In September 2004, the NIAID released a Request for Applications to establish this center, the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology (CHAVI). In July 2005, the NIH awarded the CHAVI to Duke University. The CHAVI grant could be an award up to $300 million over 7 years.

In August 2006, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced the award of $287 million to support 16 HIV-1 vaccine development centers, collectively deemed the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD).