This application requests support for a Keystone Symposia meeting entitled HIV Vaccines, organized by Gunilla B. Karlsson-Hedestam, Andrew McMichael and Christopher J. Miller, which will be held in Keystone, Colorado from March 21 - 26, 2012. The 2012 Keystone Symposia meeting on HIV Vaccines will focus on basic aspects of immunology and HIV-1 virology to highlight issues that challenge the field. The genetic diversity of circulating HIV-1 variants puts extreme demands on the quality of the response a prophylactic vaccine will need to elicit. Most likely, conserved viral determinants need to be targeted and the response must be sustained over time. To facilitate a broad and open discussion around these topics, the symposium will convene expert investigators from the HIV-1 vaccine field as well as a number of basic immunologists. Aspects of natural HIV-1 infection of direct relevance to the development of a vaccine, such as viral transmission and viral escape from immune responses, will be addressed in joint sessions with the parallel meeting on Viral Immunity and Host Gene Influence. Speakers will also be invited to present in the workshops and in the oral sessions based on submitted abstracts.
The HIV-1/AIDS pandemic is the foremost infectious disease, causing death and morbidity worldwide. Clearly the most effective approach to curbing the future impact of this disease is through the development and delivery worldwide of a safe, effective and affordable vaccine that prevents or reduces transmission of the virus. Over the past several years, the Keystone Symposia HIV Vaccines meeting series has played an important role in bringing together the community of scientists working on basic and translational aspects of HIV vaccines. The 2012 meeting - held in conjunction with a meeting on Viral Immunity and Host Gene Influence - aims to stimulate increased interactions between basic immunologists and HIV virologists. We anticipate increased interactions between these two fields will benefit the HIV vaccine community enormously.