Scientists and advocates for all vaccine research today launched a new effort to increase funding and coordination. The Foundation for Vaccine Research, based in Washington, D.C., has recruited a board stacked with several prominent HIV/AIDS researchers, including Ronald Desrosiers of the New England Primate Research Center, Simon Wain-Hobson of the Institut Pasteur in Paris, and Robin Weiss of University College London.
Peter Hale, an advertising specialist who has long worked with HIV/AIDS researchers, started the foundation. “No one has been campaigning or lobbying for all vaccine research, and it’s desperately needed,” says Hale. “The science and technology are there, but the resources aren’t.”
Hale plans to organize telethons to raise funding, which he says then will be awarded to grants that review committees will evaluate rapidly. “There are teams of scientists out there crying out for money, and we’ve only had two major sources of funds, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Gates Foundation,” says Hale.
The foundation also wants to confront the prevalence of misinformation on vaccines that has convinced thousands of new parents to forgo vaccination for their babies. “It’s a huge issue, and somebody needs to take it on,” Hale says. “Nobody, with the exception of a few brave individuals like Paul Offitt—who is on our board—has done it yet.”