Navigation Links
Harvard School of Public Health awarded $20 million CDC grant to study HIV prevention in Botswana
Date:9/21/2011

Boston, MA A new four-year, $20 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will enable Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers to evaluate the impact and cost-effectiveness of a unique combination of HIV prevention strategies in Botswana. The CDC grant is part of a U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) initiative that commits $45 million to examine the effectiveness of combination approaches to HIV prevention over four years. The largest evaluation of its kind, the research initiative is poised to help partner countries strengthen their efforts to prevent new HIV infections and save lives. For more information about the combination prevention initiative, visit: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/09/172389.htm.

Principal investigator Max Essex, professor of health sciences and chair of the Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative, and co-principal investigator Victor De Gruttola, professor of biostatistics and chair of the Department of Biostatistics at HSPH, predict that their prevention strategies can reduce HIV infection by at least 50 percent.

Notably, one aspect of the study includes a focused effort to prevent HIV transmission by individuals with a high viral load. "This is the subset of people most likely to transmit the virus," said Essex.

He and his colleagues believe that targeting those mostly likely to transmit HIV can greatly reduce disease incidence and be cost-effective. Essex noted that some researchers have advocated supplying all HIV-positive individuals in a particular group with antiretrovirals, but covering all infected people in populations with high rates of infection can be prohibitively expensive for governments in developing countries.

Another unique aspect of the HSPH study is that researchers will study viral gene signatures (the genomic fingerprint of a virus) to determine the effectiveness of targeting individuals with high viral loads. Using this method can indicate whether new infections originated within a particular village, for example. Identifying viral gene signatures could also determine how much the study interventions are able to reduce infections that can be traced to individuals with high viral loads.

Researchers will also analyze cost savings realized from using the prevention strategies in the study. "The hope is that the strategies will help countries cut costs dramatically," said Essex. "Conducting a study of this type in southern Africa is more logical because HIV infection rates are much higher than those in the U.S. and the results can be obtained sooner."

The study will be conducted in collaboration with the Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP), a 15-year-old collaborative research and training initiative between the Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative and the Botswana Ministry of Health.

In spite of Botswana's significant efforts to curtail the incidence of HIV/AIDS, 25 percent of adults in this southern African country are HIV-positive. To home in on ways to optimize HIV prevention strategies, HSPH and BHP researchers will conduct a randomized study of nearly 50,000 people22,000 in the village of Mochudi, and roughly 28,000 in 16 rural communities. HSPH and BHP researchers, working with Botswana's Ministry of Health, will examine the effects of combining a number of prevention strategies over a four-year period. In addition to treating high viral load, the interventions include

  • Testing and counseling more than 70% of 18- to 49-year-old adults

  • Voluntary circumcision of more than 70% of 18- to 49-year-old adult males not infected with HIV

  • Providing more than 90% of HIV-infected adults with antiretroviral therapy

  • Providing antiretrovirals to 95% of HIV-infected pregnant women in order to prevent disease transmission to their children

These interventions have not been adequately evaluated in combination, said Essex. Using a number of prevention strategies together at the same time should also test whether they have a synergistic effect. According to co-principal investigator De Gruttola, "Studying people as members of village communities rather than as isolated subjects allows for mathematical modeling of the effects of combination prevention strategies in the settings in which they will actually be used."


'/>"/>

Contact: Todd Datz
tdatz@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-8413
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Harvard scientists see the early cellular cause of dry eye disease for the first time
2. Harvards engineering school receives $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant
3. Harvards Wyss Institute develops technology to produce sugar from photosynthetic bacteria
4. Harvards Wyss Institute uses natures design principles to create specialized nanofabrics
5. Phosphorous in sodas and processed foods accelerates signs of aging say Harvard scientists
6. New discovery by Harvard scientists aims to correct cellular defects leading to diabetes
7. Harvard research team receives $10M NSF grant to develop small-scale mobile robotic devices
8. Harvard scientists solve mystery about why HIV patients are more susceptible to TB infection
9. Duke, Harvard researchers to monitor bonobo reintroduction
10. Harvard scientist says we are what we eat -- and what we cook
11. Organizational Change Management for Sustainability: The Harvard Case Study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/29/2016)... , March 29, 2016 ... "Company") LegacyXChange "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are pleased to ... ink used in a variety of writing instruments, ensuring ... of originally created collectibles from athletes on LegacyXChange will ... analysis of the DNA. Bill Bollander ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... 2016 According to ... for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, Motion, Pressure, ... & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, & Wearable ... 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market for ... USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, at a ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... Unique technology combines v ... security   Xura, Inc. ... digital communications services, today announced it is working alongside ... customers, particularly those in the Financial Services Sector, the ... within a mobile app, alongside, and in combination with, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle ... people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of a new ... , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Md. , June 23, 2016 A person ... from the crime scene to track the criminal down. ... the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA ... sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016   EpiBiome , a precision ... million in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). ... and to advance its drug development efforts, as well ... "SVB has been an incredible strategic partner ... a traditional bank would provide," said Dr. Aeron ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to ... medical community, has closed its Series A funding round, ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis ... need to meet our current goals," stated Matthew ... runway to complete validation on the current projects in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: