NIH awards Emory and partners $27.6M for pediatric HIV cure research

Woodruff Health Sciences Center | Aug. 20, 2021

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Jill Wu
Emory University
jill.s.wu@emory.edu

Jennifer Burkhardt
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
jennifer.burkhardt@choa.org

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Ann Chahroudi

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Emory University and the Yerkes National Primate Research Center will share with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in a five-year, $27.6 million award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to accelerate the search for a cure for HIV in children and adolescents.

The Pediatric Adolescent Virus Elimination (PAVE) Collaboratory is using a multidisciplinary, multicultural and iterative approach to study pediatric HIV. The $5.7 million annual grant is part of the Martin Delaney Collaboratories (MDC) for HIV Cure Research program.

Co-principal investigator Ann Chahroudi, MD, PhD, is an infectious disease specialist at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, director of the Center for Childhood Infections and Vaccines and associate professor of pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine. She is also a researcher with the Yerkes Microbiology and Immunology Division. The co-lead is Deborah Persaud, MD, a virologist and professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. PAVE will collaborate with 36 U.S. and internationally based co-investigators. 

Around the globe, an estimated 1.7 million children under age 15 are living with HIV, and there are about five million adolescents and young adults aged 15-25 who have HIV. Additionally, about 150,000 children a year are born infected with HIV.

“Despite remarkable advances in the prevention and treatment of HIV, it remains an epidemic for millions of children and adolescents who live with the virus every day,” says Chahroudi. “The mission of our collaboratory is more than treating HIV in children, it’s to find a cure, which will improve millions of lives worldwide.”

The PAVE Collaboratory aims to identify and harness the unique immunovirological features of HIV infection in children and adolescents. Working with pediatric nonhuman primate models, PAVE team members will conduct preclinical safety and effectiveness research studies of novel treatments. The collaboratory will also focus on developing procedures, tools and techniques, including imaging, specifically for infants, children and adolescents.

PAVE academic institutions will work with community, industry and NIH partners to advance pediatric HIV research.

“With this funding and a truly outstanding group of investigators and industry partners, we are thrilled to synergize the pediatric cure research efforts globally. The award will also allow us to apply state-of-the-art scientific tools to understand HIV persistence in children and adolescents with the ultimate goal of achieving HIV remission or eradication,” says Chahroudi.

The National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) launched the Martin Delaney Collaboratories in 2010 to honor the late HIV/AIDS activist who served on the NIAID AIDS Research Advisory Committee. In addition to NIAID, three other NIH institutes help fund the program: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Institute of Mental Health.

The NIH award number for the PAVE Collaboratory is UM1AI164566-01.

Read more about the collaboratory and the organizations funded this round at the NIAID website.


About Emory

Emory University is known for its demanding academics, outstanding undergraduate experience, highly ranked professional schools and state-of-the-art research facilities. Emory encompasses nine academic divisions as well as The Carter Center, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, the Michael C. Carlos Museum, and Emory Healthcare, Georgia’s largest and most comprehensive health care system.

About Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

As the only freestanding pediatric healthcare system in Georgia, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is the trusted leader in caring for kids. The not-for-profit organization’s mission is to make kids better today and healthier tomorrow through more than 60 pediatric specialties and programs, top healthcare professionals, and leading research and technology. Children’s is one of the largest pediatric clinical care providers in the country, managing more than one million patient visits annually at three hospitals, Marcus Autism Center, the Center for Advanced Pediatrics and neighborhood locations. Consistently ranked among the top children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has impacted the lives of kids in Georgia, across the United States and around the world for more than 100 years thanks to generous support from the community. Visit www.choa.org for more information.