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NIAID's HIV-1 Program Funds Genetics

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will give grants to investigators who will use various methods to understand HIV-1 persistence in patients using anti-retroviral therapy, and to generate information that can be used to develop new assays or treatments.

The Basic Research on HIV Persistence grant program will involve studies of the genetics of host and virus, immunology, systems biology, and virology, NIAID said in a request for applications.

The institute expects that this is the first in a series of funding programs aimed at understanding the basic mechanisms of HIV persistence and then using that knowledge to develop ways to control and eliminate the cells that carry the virus.

Because the nature and scope of these programs may vary widely, NIAID said that it anticipates that the size and length of the awards will vary, and it did not release a projection for individual investigators or a specific amount for the program.

The institute is encouraging researchers to study all aspects of latent viral infection, including mechanisms that are responsible for creation, maintenance, and removal of residual viral infection, new assay development, mathematical, cell, and animal model development, and new technologies.

The programs could involve studies of transcription factors that are present and can be activated in the relevant cell type, and they could involve developing new technologies to standardize isolation and quantification of viral RNA and viral DNA from cells and tissues, and nanotechnology. They also could develop methods for detecting and measuring diversification of viruses in reservoirs, and assays to accurately discriminate and measure viral DNA in integrated or unintegrated forms. Researchers also could develop mathematical, cell, and animal models for latency, including bioinformatics approaches, said NIAID.

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