SEATTLE (AP) _ The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will give a $9.7 million grant to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation to study ways to prevent HIV/AIDS transmission to children via breast milk.
The money will pay for eight research studies and up to three clinical trials of vaccines that have previously been tested on adults.
Pamela Barnes, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Glaser Foundation, noted the absence of children in HIV vaccine research even though nearly 14 percent of all new HIV infections are in children who contract the disease from their mothers.
``We don't want to be celebrating the discovery of an HIV vaccine and then stop and realize it's ineffective or unsafe for children,'' she said in a foundation statement issued this week about the grant. ``We need research aimed at both children and adults and the Gates Foundation is helping make that possible.''
The Glaser Foundation has helped pay for 41 studies related to pediatric HIV/AIDS research since 1988. The Gates Foundation grant will significantly expand the smaller foundation's reach, as it is nearly equal to all the money the Glaser Foundation spent on HIV/AIDS research between 1988 and 2007.
The Gates Foundation has spent nearly $500 million on initiatives to prevent the spread of HIV and for research into potential HIV/AIDS vaccines. It also has spent millions of dollars to improve access to childhood vaccines, develop other new vaccines and improve the chances babies will survive beyond their early years.