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Duke to Lead EuroCHAVI Consortium to Study Genetic Influences of HIV

NEW YORK, June 20 (GenomeWeb News) - Duke University said today that it is leading a consortium of US, European, and Australian researchers to identify genetic differences in the way people respond to HIV.


The group, called EuroCHAVI, will recruit 600 patients from nine patient groups, making this the largest cohort assembled for large-scale analysis of genetic differences among HIV-infected patients, according to Amalio Telenti, co-director of the Institute of Microbiology at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.


EuroCHAVI aims to quickly identify common genes that affect how the body responds to HIV. The scientists will search for an underlying genetic influence to understand variations in HIV infection patterns and the speed at which the infection progresses to AIDS.


The studies will be conducted at the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy and the University of Lausanne and led by Duke's scientists.


Kevin Shianna from Duke's Center for Applied Genomics and Technology told GenomeWeb News that the consortium will use Illumina's Infinium BeadChips -- both the HumanHap300 and the HumanHap550 -- to identify SNPs in the study. Shianna co-led the planning for the genotype platform selection. Follow-up genotyping will use the Illumina GoldenGate assay as well as the TaqMan assay, he said.


The Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology (CHAVI) will support the consortium. Duke established the center in 2005 with a $300 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


David Goldstein, director of CHAVI's host genetics research core, optimistically predicted the prospect of getting answers by next year as "very real."


CHAVI also will establish an even larger cohort of HIV-infected patients in Africa and perform the same genetic analyses to develop a detailed and accurate map of haplotypes among these populations. The team will use a custom chip that combines 120,000 unique tagging SNPs for the African population with the off-the-shelf HumanHap550 for a total of 670,000 SNPs.

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