From Instinct: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gifted the University of Maryland School of Medicine 23.4 million dollars to continue the decades-long work on a promising HIV/AIDS vaccine. The Los Angeles Times reports that the money was awarded to the university’s Institute of Human Virology, headed by Dr. Robert Gallo, who helped discover the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS, and who also developed the HIV blood test.
The significance about their work is that the vaccine being researched would neutralize many different strains of HIV. In the past, researchers say, vaccine candidates responded only to single strains or narrow ranges of the disease.
Knowing that the virus mutates has been the greatest challenge for scientists. Though it sounds like deflection is the key to this vaccine, because the IHV vaccine contains a protein that is normally hidden within the AIDS virus, but exposes itself when the virus attaches to a cell before attacking it. Unlike the proteins on the outer coat of the virus, this protein doesn’t change.
To date, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $2.2 billion in grants to HIV/AIDS research.