Eastern Virginia Medical School Receives $100M Grant From USAID for Microbicide ResearchEastern Virginia Medical School on Monday announced that it has received a $100 million grant from USAID for microbicide research through its CONRAD program, the Virginian-Pilot reports. According to EVMS, the grant will help its more than 20 years of research into microbicides. "It's an extraordinary grant," Gustavo Doncel, pre-clinical director for CONRAD, said, adding, "Our main goal with the grant is to improve reproductive health in developing countries." According to Doncel, CONRAD researchers are focusing on several microbicide candidates(Simpson, Virginian-Pilot, 9/8).
The funding will be distributed at $20 million annually for five years to help pay for microbicide trials, according to Reuters. Two candidates that CONRAD is researching are a microbicide that uses the antiretroviral drug tenofovir and another experimental candidate called UC781(Fox, Reuters, 9/8).
CONRAD also is researching combination products that not only would provide protection against HIV but also would prevent other sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies. In addition, researchers aim to develop products that will be effective over longer periods of time, rather than applying the microbicide before sex, Doncel said. He added that he expects it will take another 10 years before a microbicide is available on the market. CONRAD Executive Director Henry Gabelnick said that the program has received about $400 million in grants for its work (Virginian-Pilot, 9/8).
According to a USAID spokesperson, the agency receives about $40 million annually from Congress for microbicide development and provides funding to several programs, including the Population Council and the International Partnership for Microbicides (Reuters, 9/8). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.