The Cure Is Coming…

(Doherty Institute, 2018)

Melbourne research teams are one step close to finding a more sustainable cure for HIV, a virus that unfortunately effects over 36.5 million people around the world. But now, thanks to grants from the Melbourne HIV Cure Consortium (MHCC), $646000 has been put into efforts to quicken research. The grants themselves, announced just before World AIDS Day, will hopefully give the MHCC the extra boost they need to develop the cure for this debilitating virus.

The MHCC was established in 2017 when the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services awarded $1.2 million to the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. It aims to bring together professionals in many fields such as immunology, drug development, and social sciences, along with neuroscientists themselves.

HIV itself is an infamous virus that damages the immune system, meaning many other illnesses and sicknesses can be let into the body due to a weakening of the body’s natural immunity defences. Generally known as a sexually transmitted infection, or STI, it can certainly be transmitted through unprotected anal or vaginal sex, but can also be given through the sharing of objects like needles and syringes. Extreme cases of HIV can lead to diseases like AIDS, which develops when the body’s immune system is in its weakest state.

While HIV can be treated with antivirals, more permanent and high-tech treatments are substantially more expensive. With these new funds, research teams will have the ability to “extend this project by doing the infusion at the same time as giving a drug that can wake up the virus, making it more visible,” according to Head of The Alfred’s Department of Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Unit, Dr. James McMahon.

These beneficial MHCC Grants will be available once again next year, with applications opening early next year. For more information, visit the Doherty Institute website.

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