Nationality: South Africa
Institution: National Institute for Communicable Diseases/Wits University
Country of work: South Africa
What is your motivation for engaging in HIV cure and remission research?
My motivation in engaging in HIV cure work stems from an interest in what the correlates of protective HIV-1 immunity are. Living in a country that has the highest burden of HIV-1 worldwide, and also having witnessed the ravages of this disease first-hand, inspires me to want to make a valid contribution to helping find a solution to this problem. An understanding of the host and virus immune dynamic is core to the development of both vaccine and cure strategies. I see these two fields of HIV research as interrelated and essential in our efforts to curb this devastating epidemic.
What is your current area of research?
I am currently working in a research lab that is actively involved in the study of South African individuals who naturally control HIV-1 infection. We are also trying to elucidate the mechanism by which a South African child has managed to attain HIV-1 remission for >9 years following early ARV treatment and cessation. Furthermore we are involved in a trial (LEOPARD) that is implementing early infant ARV treatment (birth testing and treatment). My role in the research has been on the host genetics front as well as the development of assays to detect and monitor the subtype C vial reservoir.