Emory University and the Yerkes National Primate Research Center will share with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in a five-year, $27.6 million award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to accelerate the search for a cure for HIV in children and adolescents. The $5.7 million annual grant is part of the Martin Delaney Collaboratories (MDC) for HIV Cure Research program.
Co-principal investigator Ann Chahroudi, MD, PhD, is an infectious disease specialist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, director of the Center for Childhood Infections and Vaccines and associate professor of pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine. She is also a researcher with the Yerkes Microbiology and Immunology Division.
The co-lead is Deborah Persaud, MD, a virologist and professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Pediatric Adolescent Virus Elimination (PAVE) will collaborate with 36 U.S. and internationally-based co-investigators.
“Despite remarkable advances in the prevention and treatment of HIV, it remains an epidemic for millions of children and adolescents who live with the virus every day,” says Chahroudi. “The mission of our collaboratory is more than treating HIV in children, it’s to find a cure, which will improve millions of lives worldwide.”
Around the globe, an estimated 1.7 million children under age 15 are living with HIV, and there are about five million adolescents and young adults aged 15-25 who have HIV. Additionally, about 150,000 children a year are born infected with HIV.
The PAVE Collaboratory aims to identify and harness the unique immunovirological features of HIV infection in children and adolescents. Working with pediatric nonhuman primate models, PAVE team members will conduct preclinical safety and effectiveness research studies of novel treatments. The collaboratory will also focus on developing procedures, tools and techniques, including imaging, specifically for infants, children and adolescents. PAVE academic institutions will work with community, industry and NIH partners to advance pediatric HIV research.
“With this funding and a truly outstanding group of investigators and industry partners, we are thrilled to synergize the pediatric cure research efforts globally. The award will also allow us to apply state-of-the-art scientific tools to understand HIV persistence in children and adolescents with the ultimate goal of achieving HIV remission or eradication,” says Chahroudi.