HIV Research Failures Prompt Announcement of $50K PETA Grant

For Immediate Release:
May 2, 2023

Tasgola Bruner 202-483-7382


PETA is pleased to announce that it will bankroll a $50,000 grant to fund a first-of-its-kind study to explore the exact reasons why attempts to develop a vaccine against HIV have failed to produce a viable one for humans.

No vaccine for HIV exists, despite billions in taxpayer funding and decades of research. In an effort to break this stagnation, PETA is offering this generous funding for a researcher to conduct a systemic review of studies in which monkeys were used to test HIV vaccines and compare that data to the testing of those same vaccines in humans.

Only humans contract HIV and develop AIDS. But nonhuman primates have been the go-to model for HIV research. At the nation’s seven federally funded primate research centers, experimenters infect macaques with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), which is unique to African primates, or they use an engineered SIV/HIV concoction to get around this species-specific dilemma.

“Decades of research on primates who can’t contract HIV has resulted in a pile of monkey corpses but zero vaccines,” says PETA neuroscientist Dr. Emily Trunnell. “This systematic review will offer insight into why that is, instead of wasting time and effort on the same cruel methods.”

Graduate students and post-doctoral researchers are encouraged to apply. Applicants should submit a detailed proposal, along with a curriculum vitae, to Dr. Emily Trunnell at [email protected]. See the full submission guidelines here.

Applications are due June 16. The recipient will be announced in July.

Studies show that 90% of basic research, most of which involves animals, fails to lead to treatments for humans—yet the National Institutes of Health spends nearly half its annual budget on animal studies. PETA’s Research Modernization Deal maps out a strategy for replacing the use of animals in experiments with human-relevant methods and presents the U.S. government’s own evidence that 95% of all new medications that test safe and effective in animal tests fail in human clinical trials.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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