R16-million boost for HIV/AIDS research in the Western Cape

29 July 2002
MEDICAL research institutions in the Western Cape are set to benefit from two study grants totalling R16-million. The grants, handed over at a function at the Red Cross Children's Hospital, form part of the Secure the Future programme – a Bristol-Myers Squibb's $115-million commitment towards finding innovative, replicable and sustainable solutions to address HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.

One of the grants, equalling R13.3-million, will fund a randomised clinical trial designed to determine and evaluate the optimum treatment duration for tuberculosis (TB) in HIV-infected children. The research, to be undertaken as a joint initiative between UCT and the University of Stellenbosch, will also seek to assess the effect that TB has on the natural history of HIV-infection.

Professor Greg Hussey, principal investigator of the joint programme said: "The study will be invaluable in helping to identify how best we can improve the microbiological diagnosis of TB in HIV-infected children. At the same time, we hope to determine whether children with dual infections are able to develop effective anti-mycobacterial immunity against the disease."

Dr Heloise Buys accepted a grant of R2.7-million on behalf of UCT to fund a research programme to be conducted in partnership with Tygerberg, Groote Schuur and Red Cross hospitals. The purpose of the study is to establish the role of vitamin and mineral supplementation in reducing morbidity in HIV-infected children.

"The funding of these two additional research interventions is another step closer towards improving the overall understanding and treatment of HIV/AIDS", maintains Dr Ashraf Grimwood, Director of Secure the Future's HIV Research Institute.

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