About this site

Sam DormanI created this website and the videos on it in order to tell an amazing story about one of the great untapped opportunities in the HIV/AIDS vaccine effort — a killed-virus vaccine — and to help find a funder with the vision and common sense to make it happen.

My dad, Burt Dorman, has long been among the most vocal proponents of launching a traditional vaccine product development effort to develop a killed-virus vaccine for HIV/AIDS, a shockingly-obvious yet overlooked concept with real prospects for success. His collaborators and supporters in this effort represent a prestigious collection of scientific and medical heavy hitters. Their argument is clear and compelling.

However, they are up against an equally formidable opponent, which is a longstanding conventional wisdom that HIV will require some new vaccine technique, and if “old-fashioned” killed-virus was such a great idea it would have been tried a long time ago. As the accomplished experts shown on this site explain so beautifully, that argument is deeply flawed, and like most conventional wisdom, very well might turn out to be astoundingly, singularly wrong.

The exciting part of this is that we don’t actually need to change this “erroneous consensus” in order to answer that question. All we need is a visionary funder with enough common sense and enough backbone to stand up and make this happen. A relatively small commitment ($5 million for 3-5 years) could lead us to a clinically-useful HIV vaccine within a handful of years. Yes, this is actually possible. It would change the world instantly.

And despite the optimistic tone you may occasionally see in news reports, experienced vaccinologists would tell you that there is little other reason to expect success from any existing effort out there featuring “novel” vaccine techniques, especially not on any near-term horizon. Successes in the sector so far have been few and far between, and are generally more theoretically hopeful than concretely promising. In other words, we are all hoping for some extremely long shots. There’s no telling whether those efforts will lead anywhere useful at all, or how long they might take. It could be decades. In that time, millions of people around the world will continue to get infected of HIV, and millions will die of AIDS without adequate access to care and drugs, despite heroic efforts to address that shortfall.

By contrast, a killed-virus vaccine R&D project is a well-known effort. We know how to do it. We know what it takes. We can spin it up in a year and have concrete results in 3-5 years ready for large scale trials. It’s not open-ended science, it’s well-understood product development. It has a real chance of working.

If it does, millions of lives will be saved and history will be made.

We owe it to every family around the world being torn apart by this devastating crisis to give killed-virus vaccines their long-overdue day in the lab. We have a remarkable and ever-growing group of people who have joined the effort so far to dedicate their skills, talents, and networks. We would love your help as well, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Sam Dorman