NIH restructures HIV clinical trials network, awards grants

Dec. 2, 2020

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), restructured the NIH HIV clinical trials networks into four areas of research. NIAID also awarded grants to 35 U.S. and international institutions selected as HIV clinical trials units (CTUs), according to a press release.

NIAID and co-funding NIH institutes intend to provide approximately $375.3 million in the first year to support the networks.

The process of refining the NIH HIV clinical trials networks began in 2017 and involved extensive consultations with researchers, clinicians, advocates, people with or at risk of HIV, and other stakeholders, NIAID said. The new, streamlined network structure will reduce administrative and oversight costs, allowing more funds to be allocated to clinical trials to advance four key areas of research emphasis: HIV prevention; HIV vaccines; HIV/AIDS adult therapeutics; and HIV/AIDS maternal, adolescent and pediatric therapeutics, NIAID said. The networks also have the flexibility to leverage their infrastructure to rapidly respond to emerging infectious diseases, such as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The new structure includes one network that will focus on development of a safe, effective and durable preventive HIV vaccine, and one that will work to advance an array of non-vaccine HIV prevention products and strategies to meet the needs and preferences of diverse populations worldwide. Two therapeutics networks will develop and evaluate potential new treatments and cure strategies for HIV and HIV-related complications and co-infections. One of these networks will focus on adults, while the other will focus on infants, children, adolescents, and pregnant and postpartum women. HIV prevention and vaccine research for the maternal, pediatric and adolescent populations will be led by the HIV prevention and vaccine networks, with assistance from the therapeutics network focused on these populations.

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