Doctor Stefano Vella (born in Rome, June 12, 1952) received his degree in Medicine from the University of Rome in 1977. He subsequently achieved specialty degrees in both Infectious Diseases (1982) and Internal Medicine (1987). After a postdoctoral experience at the University of Pennsylvania (1981-1982), he joined the medical staff at the Institute of Internal Medicine, University La Sapienza, Rome, where he developed an extensive experience in the clinical management of internal medicine and infectious diseases patients.
In 1991, Doctor Vella was appointed Research Director of HIV/AIDS at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), the Italian National Institute of Health.
Specific work has been conducted by Doctor Vella and his research group on the clinical development of antiretroviral therapy; the study of HIV resistance to antiretroviral drugs; the mechanisms of immune reconstitution; the care and treatment of co-infections, including TB; the area of health needs assessment; the area of operational and implementation research in resource limited settings.
At the beginning of the era of combination antiretroviral treatment, he chaired – or participated to – numerous international clinical studies on antiretroviral therapy: including the first studies with protease inhibitors and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors; the strategic studies to assess the best first-line and second line regimens. As a consequence of his work, he was appointed to the Panel who developed the first HIV treatment guidelines (JAMA, 1996). From 2006 till 2013 he chaired the European AIDS Clinical Trials Network (NEAT), funded by the European Commission, involving 40 European partner institutions from 16 countries.
Since 1996, as Member of the Governing Council of the International AIDS Society [IAS] and subsequently as IAS President (2000-2002), he actively worked towards promoting access to treatment and care in the South of the World and has been instrumental for the organization of the AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa (2000). He subsequently chaired the 1st IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment, Buenos Aires, 2001, and the XIV International Conference on AIDS, Barcelona, 2002.
Doctor Vella is Vice President of the Scientific Council, ANRS (Agence Nationale de Recherche sur le Sida), Paris, France, and Vice-President of the Friends of Global Fund – Europe. He is also member of the UNAIDS Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee. He is Chair of the Panel who developed the 2013 WHO Guidelines on HIV Treatment and Care.
From 2003 till 2016 he was the Director of Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutic Research at ISS (2003-2016), overseeing the research activities of over 270 staff members. In this position he conducted studies on therapeutics of major human disease areas.
In January 2017, Doctor Vella was appointed Director of the Italian Center for Global Health at the National Institute of Health, whose mission is to fight health inequalities worldwide through research, education and advocacy. In march 2017, Doctor Vella has been appointed President of the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA).