AV200 bicycle ride to benefit AIDS vaccine research for 15th year

Woodruff Health Sciences Center | May 16, 2017

Contact

Melva Robertson
404-727-5692
melva.robertson@emory.edu

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This year's ride travels from Emory School of Medicine on the Clifton Road campus to the Rock Eagle 4-H center in Eatonton, Ga. and back to Emory.

More than 200 bicycle riders are expected to participate in the 15th annual two-day, 200-mile AIDS Vaccine 200 (AV200) to benefit AIDS vaccine research at the Emory Vaccine Center. The event on May 20-21 is produced by Action Cycling Atlanta – an all-volunteer organization.

This year's ride travels from Emory School of Medicine on the Clifton Road campus to the Rock Eagle 4-H center in Eatonton, Ga. and back to Emory. Participants will include individual riders and relay teams, with support from a volunteer crew.

The AV200 has raised more than $2.4 million for AIDS vaccine research. Thanks to its generous sponsors, Action Cycling Atlanta is able to donate 100 percent of all funds raised by participants to AIDS vaccine research. These unrestricted funds fill funding gaps that cannot be met through grant dollars alone. 

"An effective AIDS vaccine is still a critical need in the fight against this challenging disease around the world," says Rafi Ahmed, PhD, director of the Emory Vaccine Center and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. The funds from this ride enable our scientists to continue to make groundbreaking advances in understanding the immune system's response to viruses and vaccines and help bring us closer to a vaccine that can prevent and treat HIV infection."

AV200 participant Jonathan Karron is participating in his 6th ride this year, after volunteering for several years prior to riding.

"I ride because I've lost friends to AIDS and have other friends who live with it," says Karron. "And there are so many people living in Atlanta and around the world dealing with the effects of the disease. Despite drugs and tools to prevent and manage it, the numbers are growing in many places. I want to be part of the solution to find a vaccine and support the great work the Emory Vaccine Center is doing. 

Karron has many friends in the ride, and he's made more friends through his involvement.

"It's an amazing group of people of all ages, races, orientations, and from all walks of life. And we'd love to have more people join us. Knowing we are a part of the potential solution is empowering, even if we don't wear lab coats ourselves. There are other ways to help, whether it's riding, advocating or educating others," he says.

The Emory Vaccine Center is one of the largest academic vaccine centers in the world and is renowned for its expertise in cellular immunity and immune memory. A few of the projects that have been supported by Action Cycling's annual AV200 include:

  • Development of one of the world's first preventive AIDS vaccines, currently being tested in phase II clinical trials, and development of a therapeutic vaccine expected to soon enter clinical testing.
  • Combating AIDS in Africa through prevention, counseling, and vaccine development and testing.
  • Innovative discoveries about the immune system leading to new strategies designed to fight chronic infections like HIV/AIDS.
  • Testing of potential new HIV/AIDS vaccines at The Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center in Atlanta as part of the premier National Institutes of Health HIV Vaccine Trials Network
  • At the Vaccine Center's satellite campus in New Delhi, development of an AIDS vaccine designed specifically for the strain of HIV prevalent in India.

For more information about the AV200 bicycle ride, to register, or to donate, visit av200.org 

For more information about the Emory Vaccine Center, visit vaccines.emory.edu