The University of Puerto Rico announced a collaborative research project to develop an HIV/AIDS vaccine in the island.
The project is funded by the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, Division of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome for the Generation of Human Immunodeficiency Various ("HIV") Vaccine; the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, and the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company. The total investment is $1.4 million.
Dr. José Lasalde, Vice President for Research and Technology, UPR System, and Dr. Abel Baerga-Ortiz, Associate Professor, UPR Medical Sciences Campus, in collaboration with Dr. Ignacio Pino and Dr. Daniel Echinger from CDI Laboratories in Mayaguez, will guide the work to find a generation of recombinant HIV envelop proteins that could lead to a prophylactic vaccine. Investigations will be conducted at UPR facilities, the Bioprocess Development and Training Complex in Mayaguez, and the Molecular Science Research Building in Río Piedras. Close to 30 scientist and students will work on different phases of the research project.
Puerto Rico has some of the most concerning HIV/AIDS statistics in the United States, ranked in the top 10 AIDS case rates among all states and territories in 2010.