South African universities, including UCT, have received significant awards – a total of US$8-million in the first year – to support research targeting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and HIV-related disorders and cancers.
UCT has received 10 of the 24 grants awarded so far by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the South African Medical Research Council (MRC), with another seven still to be announced. Twelve of the awards will support two years of research; 19 will fund five-year projects.
These are the first awards to be issued through the South Africa-US Program for Collaborative Biomedical Research. The programme, established in 2013 with funding from the NIH and MRC, is designed to foster and expand collaborative research in the areas of HIV/AIDS and TB.
The new awards will support research conducted at eight South African universities and link local scientists with US researchers at more than 20 US-based research organisations, including the NIH. South Africa will take the lead on all projects.
"South Africa is a major partner in the fight to end both HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis," says Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the NIH. "These new awards tap the scientific expertise of both of our countries in an effort to further key research in these disease areas."
For two years in a row, UCT has won more money in direct grants from the NIH than any other university outside the US.
"This achievement is testimony to the fantastic work being done at UCT and, in particular, the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine," says Prof Gregory Hussey, interim dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences. "It is indeed a proud moment for all of us."
Grants awarded so far to UCT
|Prof Carolyn Williamson||Timing of establishment of the HIV latent reservoir in subtype C infected women – investigating how to eliminate the 'reservoir' of virus remaining in people treated for HIV|
|Assoc Prof Helen McIlleron||Pharmacometric optimisation of second line drugs for MDR tuberculosis treatment – identifying safer and more effective drug combinations and doses to treat multidrug-resistant TB|
|Prof Janet Hapgood||Combination treatment for protection against HIV1 and pregnancy – combining antiretrovirals with progestin contraceptive for prevention of HIV infection and pregnancy in women|
|Assoc Prof Christopher Colvin||Using information to align services and link and retain men in the HIV cascade – using health information to improve services that support men through the 'cascade' of HIV testing, treatment and care|
|Prof Jo-Ann Passmore||Hormone-induced mucosal susceptibility and HIV risk in South African adolescents – evaluating how choice of contraceptive method in adolescent women may affect susceptibility to HIV infection|
|Dr Catherine Riou||Diversity of CD4+ Th subsets in TB immunity – impact of HIV infection – examining how HIV alters people's immune protection against TB|
|Assoc Prof Digby Warner||Drug permeation and activity in Mycobacterium tuberculosis infected macrophages – studying the ability of anti-TB drugs to enter the cells in the body where the bacteria are, to help improve TB therapy|
|Prof Clive Gray||Mechanisms of altered immune responses in HIV exposed infants – investigating why infants born with HIV have poor immunity|
|Dr Elmi Muller||Risk assessment of HIV infected to HIV-infected transplantation in South Africa – studying kidney transplantation from HIV-infected deceased donors to HIV infected recipients|
|Prof Robert Wilkinson||Inflammatory determinants of disease severity and treatment outcome in TB patients – investigating the way the body resists TB via the immune response, to improve our ability to treat people more effectively|
See the full titles and full list of grants awarded to date.
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