FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

NIH expands scope of HIV research funding opportunity

The National Institutes of Health announced on Tuesday that it expanded the scientific scope of an HIV-cure related funding announcement to allow for a wider range of approaches and studies.

The NIH's National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and National Institute of Mental Health significantly expanded the funding opportunity, entitled "Targeting Persistent HIV Reservoirs," which was originally issued on February 17, 2012. The funding announcement was previously limited to translational and applied research to develop methods for testing strategies to eliminate or inactivate reservoir cells, identifying markers of latency or specific deactivators of HIV gene expression that would allow for reservoir cells to be targeted and isolating, quantifying and characterizing rare reservoir cells.

While those three areas remain high priorities and the primary focus of the funding opportunity, the NIH expanded the opportunity to include seven new areas. The opportunity now includes research related to studies involving therapeutic vaccines, concepts involving agents that are currently under clinical investigation when proposed as a component of a novel combination strategy, development and use of animal models to study HIV persistence, basic research studies of cellular or viral factors involved in latency, approaches including some level of non-specific reactivation of HIV gene expression or T-cell activation within a margin of safety, studies involving intensification or antiretroviral therapy and approaches targeting residual active HIV replication or ongoing, low-level HIV gene expression.

The NIMH and NIAID are offering two- to five-year awards for the funding opportunity that could total up to $35 million.

The funding opportunity is part of the NIH HIV Cure Initiative, which is meant to fuel research toward finding an HIV cure. The NIMH and NIAID will continue to accept applications for the opportunity through April 25.

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