Research-for-Cure Academy

Fernanda Heloise Cortes

Nationality: Brazil
Institution: Fiocruz
Country of work: Brazil

What is your motivation for engaging in HIV cure and remission research?

The antiretroviral therapy has reduced the rates of mortality and morbidities associated with AIDS. However, globally, only ~59% of infected people were accessing cART in 2017. Moreover, in the last years, it has been well established that even in the scenario of long-term viral suppression under cART, the immune activation and inflammatory markers still persist, and are pointed as triggering cardiovascular diseases and other morbidities non-associated to AIDS. Those points motivate me to keep engaged and put all my efforts in the viral suppression mechanisms and the cure and remission research.

What is your current area of research?

My research focuses on immunopathogenic mechanisms in HIV-controllers and HIV-acute infected individuals starting cART. We have looked for immune activation and inflammatory markers that better differentiate controllers from non-controllers. Moreover, we have conducted deeper analyses to identify markers associated with different levels of control. The definition of markers associated with high level of control and absence of disease progression will help to guide the decision of cART interruption in the acutely treated individuals. I am also involved in a study evaluating the impact of immune activation and inflammation in immune response to Yellow fever vaccination among HIV-1 infected individuals.