Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Doc denounces cancellation of vaccine facility

  • Print
OTTAWA -- The head of an association representing Canada's HIV researchers said it'll be difficult for them to test their work now that a non-profit facility to get potential HIV vaccines into clinical trials has been shelved.

"You can't test a vaccine without a production facility," said Dr. Bill Cameron, president of the Canadian Association of HIV Research.

"I'm disappointed," he said.

The Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed Friday it and the Gates Foundation are not proceeding with an $88-million HIV facility to produce experimental vaccines for clinical trials. The facility was to have been the signature project of the Canadian HIV Vaccine Initiative, a joint venture between Canada and the Gates Foundation announced three years ago.

Winnipeg-based International Centre for Infectious Diseases was among the four finalists and was told informally last summer it had won. However, all four finalists were told three weeks ago they hadn't met the criteria.

PHAC confirmed on Friday the facility would not be built, citing a July 2009 analysis by the Gates Foundation showing there are already enough manufacturers for test vaccines.

That analysis notes there are more suppliers available now than there were five years ago and fewer clinical trials are expected in coming years because scientists have added stricter criteria for advancing to the trial stage. It acknowledged more research is needed to ensure the quality of the suppliers but also said only two out of 30 research experts consulted had issues with capacity for vaccine production available now or in the future.

Cameron said it's true the HIV vaccine research field has changed in recent months after two promising vaccines had "ho hum" results in clinical trials. However, he said introducing a new way for researchers to get their vaccines produced may have been a creative spark to the field. "Whatever we're doing is not working and I see nothing wrong with taking another approach," he said.

The vast majority of clinical trials of HIV vaccines currently take place with private-sector funding and manufacturing because there is very little manufacturing capacity available in non-profit companies.

Cameron said private-sector trials are constrained by intellectual property and market considerations, which can limit research.

"I don't think that's the best way to find another creative research project," he said. "This is why we need a public facility. Personally, I'd like to see a vaccine facility constructed to meet the needs of academic researchers."

The Gates Foundation has remained silent. A spokesperson directed media to the Canadian government for comment.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said the money for the project is still on the table. "We are working with the Gates Foundation on where to best invest this money to achieve a safe, effective and affordable HIV vaccine," Josee Bellemare said in an email.

Terry Duguid, the former chief executive officer of ICID who is running for the federal Liberals in Winnipeg South, said the government's excuses are a "massive coverup."

The Liberals want an independent investigation.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 25, 2010 A8

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Feeling at home at Home Expressions

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Gardening Column- Assiniboine Park English Garden. July 19, 2002.
  • A mother goose has chosen a rather busy spot to nest her eggs- in the parking lot of St Vital Centre on a boulevard. Countless cars buzz by and people have begun to bring it food.-Goose Challenge Day 06 - May 08, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Are you planning to go visit the new polar bear, Humphrey, at the Assiniboine Park Zoo?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google