MIDRP Overview History & Achievements Current Research Efforts External Programs

Program Overview:
With the advent of HIV-1 serum diagnosis in 1985, the U.S. military recognized the emerging HIV-1 epidemic as a new threat to U.S. forces. In response to this threat a congressionally mandated U.S. Military HIV Research Program (USMHRP) was initiated in 1986 to monitor and to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on the U.S. military's readiness. The U.S. Military HIV Research Program (USMHRP) is thus focused on conducting research to protect the active force from HIV-1 disease; monitor the treatment of HIV-1 disease around the world through surveillance activities, and by providing clinical interventions and advanced diagnostic capabilities.

The incidence of new infections in all three services is approximately 300 per year. Infections have been documented occurring CONUS and OCONUS and the epidemic continues to expand unabated throughout Eastern Europe, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. It is a deadly epidemic in all the less-developed and unstable regions of the world, where HIV represents a security threat. The risk for exposure to HIV by DoD personnel continues to climb during deployments, peacekeeping missions, and humanitarian aid missions as the epidemic spreads among local populations. The primary risk for deployment associated infection is heterosexual exposure with the endemic population. Many of these infections are type HIV-1 E associated with Naval ports-of-call and HIV-1 A, C, D associated with African deployments and embassy missions. With the increasing deployment of forces to areas of the globe in which the epidemic is characterized by a non-B subtype, the focus of the military's HIV vaccine development strategy is to develop a globally effective HIV-1 vaccine with emphasis on non-B subtypes.

MHRP is a highly-targeted program to address military specific concerns including developing a globally-effective HIV vaccine, ensuring accurate HIV testing for the Army, tracking the HIV epidemic in active-duty forces and assessing risk of HIV exposure to U.S. and allied forces deployed overseas. Program Area H, HIV Research, is a broad-based, highly leveraged HIV/AIDS research program that is built upon three major Task Areas: 1) HIV Epidemiology; 2) HIV Pre-clinical Research; 3) HIV Clinical Trials

Since 1986, the US Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) has made essential contributions to force health protection and emerged as a global leader in HIV vaccine research and development. The ability of a US government agency to accomplish its mission through the cooperative agreement with the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine (HJF) provides substantial financial flexibility. The powerful synergy between the WRAIR-led HIV Research Program (MHRP) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) via two Interagency Agreements has been a principal driver of recent progress in HIV research and vaccine development in Africa and Thailand. From strong preclinical programs to the design and successful execution of large-scale clinical trials, MHRP's vast experience, robust international network and collaborative environment has led to novel and breakthrough discoveries paving the way towards an effective preventive vaccine.

The Thai Phase III HIV vaccine trial, also known as RV144, was the largest HIV vaccine study ever conducted and involved more than 16,000 volunteers in Thailand. This U.S. Army-sponsored study showed that ALVAC® HIV and AIDSVAX® B/E prime-boost HIV vaccine regimen was safe and reduced the risk of HIV infection 31.2% at 42 months in a community-based population in Thailand. Vaccine efficacy was 60% at 12 months raising the possibility that additional vaccine boosts might lead to a more effective and durable level of protection that could lead to a public health tool. Detailed results were presented on October 20, 2009 by the trial collaborators to researchers gathered at the AIDS Vaccine 2009 Conference in Paris, France and published online by the New England Journal of Medicine. This study represents an historic scientific achievement and provides the first evidence that development of a safe and effective HIV vaccine is possible.

The US Army has the only HIV vaccine to show vaccine efficacy in a Phase IIb study, thus this vaccine regimen is the leading candidate to have a public health impact. MHRP is also pursuing next generation vaccines, and is involved with one Phase I trial and two Phase I/II trials.

HIV | Flavivirus Vaccines | Lethal Virus Countermeasures