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Cleveland Clinic Receives Grant to Develop Antiretroviral Strategies to Prevent&Treat HIV

2/12/10

Cleveland Clinic’s Medicine Institute has received a $653,595 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to design antiretroviral strategies to prevent and treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) using mathematical and computational modeling.

The research is aimed at reducing the global spread of HIV infection as well as HIV drug resistance, a frequent, serious consequence of antiretroviral use.

“Antiretrovirals are arguably one of the most effective tools available to curb the HIV pandemic,” said Ume Abbas, M.D., the study’s principal investigator and a staff physician in Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Infectious Diseases and Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute’s Department of Quantitative Health Sciences. “However, we need a better understanding of how antiretroviral use impacts the epidemic over time and whether drug resistance is more problematic when antiretrovirals are used for treatment or as a preventive in uninfected persons.”

Antiretrovirals could be used in two ways to reduce HIV transmission: first, by suppressing viral replication in HIV-infected persons when administered as antiretroviral treatment (ART), thereby lowering their infectiousness; and secondly, by reducing susceptibility of uninfected individuals when administered as antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

Cleveland Clinic researchers, in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, will use mathematical and computational models that incorporate recent knowledge about HIV pathogenesis, transmission and drug resistance to simulate the impact of antiretroviral treatment and pre-exposure prophylaxis on the emergence and spread of HIV drug resistance in resource-limited settings.

“Mathematical and computational modeling can provide important insights about the dynamics of HIV infection at both the individual and population level and help design optimal prevention and control strategies,” Abbas said.

About Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic, located in Cleveland, Ohio, is a not-for-profit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Cleveland Clinic was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Approximately 1,800 full-time salaried physicians and researchers at Cleveland Clinic and Cleveland Clinic Florida represent more than 100 medical specialties and subspecialties. In 2008, there were 3.3 million visits to Cleveland Clinic and 50,465 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 80 countries. Cleveland Clinic’s Web address is www.clevelandclinic.org.

Media Contacts:

Molly Johnson, johnsm@ccf.org, 216-444-1815
Tracy Wheeler, wheelet2@ccf.org, 216-444-4235