Research-for-Cure Academy

Edsel Maurice Salvana

Nationality: Phillippines
Institution: Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines Manila
Country of work: Phillippines

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

As an HIV physician working in the fastest growing epidemic in Asia, I have witnessed how HIV has devastated the lives of many Filipinos. While the impact of ARVs has been substantial, our patients still live in fear of treatment failure. And with the limited local repertoire of ARVs coupled with rising resistance, the day may come when we no longer have effective treatment. A durable cure or remission remains the best solution to giving Filipino PLHIVs their lives back. I specifically want to make sure that cure research includes non-B subtypes, which is what affects most of our patients.

What is your current area of research?

My team is currently working on the molecular epidemiology of HIV in our country, and how we transitioned from a subtype B epidemic to one that is mostly CRF01_AE. We recently received funding to develop mobile diagnostics for detecting near-point of care HIV drug resistance for use in remote HIV treatment hubs, and we continue to work with the Department of Health in doing HIV drug resistance surveillance. This work includes monitoring the local emergence of INSTI transmitted drug resistance, which we first demonstrated using next-generation sequencing. I am also working on improving public science communication, as a former TED Fellow.