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23 Aug 2021

International team receives USD$28 million to continue research into HIV cure

Melbourne Laureate Professor Sharon Lewin, Director of the Doherty Institute, will co-lead a team of international researchers who have received USD$28 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue critical research into HIV cure.

The funding is to further the Delaney AIDS Research Enterprise to Cure HIV (DARE) consortium, a collaboration between the Doherty Institute, the University of California, San Francisco, the Oregon Health and Science University and many other institutions which started in 2010.

There are an estimated 36.7 million people living with HIV globally, including 25,000 in Australia and 6,000 in Victoria.

Professor Lewin, a co-principal Investigator on the project, said the additional commitment by the NIH would allow their essential work to continue.

“This June marked 40 years since the first reported case of HIV in the United States and while effective treatment is now available for HIV, it is lifelong and there is still no cure,” Professor Lewin said.

“As people living with HIV begin to age, they are having increasingly more complex health problems.

“Finding a cure for HIV – or a way for patients to safely stop antiretroviral therapy and keep their virus under control – will have a very significant global and local economic and social impact.” 

This grant was part of a USD $275 million (AUD$385 million) investment by the NIH for the Martin Delaney Collaboratories for HIV Cure Research program.

The program was launched in 2010 in honour of the late HIV/AIDS activist Martin Delaney, with the aim of expediting HIV cure research by bringing together researchers from various institutions, government partners, the community as well as the private sector to share common resources, data and methodologies.

Professor Steve Deeks from the University of California, San Francisco and Professor Louis Picker from the Oregon Health and Science University are co-principal Investigators on DARE alongside Professor Lewin. The program also includes Professor Marc Pelligrini from WEHI and Professor Sarah Palmer from University of Sydney.