NIAID/CRDF Global to fund African institutions carrying out HIV cure-related research in Africa

Avaliablility Monday, 15 January 2024 to
Monday, 15 April 2024

VISIT CRDF GLOBAL FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Overview

Most cure-related HIV research to date has focused on subtype B virus, which constitutes the majority of infections in North America, South America, Australia, and Western Europe, with the highest prevalence in cisgender men who have sex with men (MSM). However, subtype B represents only about 12% of the estimated 39 million people living with HIV globally. Subtype C virus constitutes the highest proportion of infections (47%), with the highest prevalence in cisgender women living in Sub-Saharan Africa. Almost 70% of all people living with HIV worldwide live in Sub-Saharan Africa and over 50% are cisgender women.  

Little is known about differences between subtype B HIV and other, more prevalent subtypes with respect to the biology of HIV persistence on ART, the frequency, and mechanisms of post-treatment control of HIV, and the response of non-subtype B viruses to curative strategies under development. Some evidence suggests that the frequency of viremic control in the absence of ART may be higher in females and in some populations in which non-subtype B virus is predominant. Additionally, one study of replication-competent persistent reservoirs in subtype C infection in Uganda demonstrated a smaller overall reservoir size as compared to individuals with subtype B virus in the U.S. More studies involving non-subtype B virus and people living with HIV in Africa are needed to better understand how these populations might respond to curative strategies currently under development for durable control of HIV in the absence of ART and/or reduction of persistent viral reservoirs.  

CRDF Global is soliciting research proposals that will expand our knowledge of HIV persistence and post-treatment control in people living with non-subtype B HIV in Africa. Proposals may propose basic, translational, preclinical, or clinical research studies using existing human samples or samples derived from separately funded HIV cohorts or clinical trials to analyze and compare non-subtype B HIV persistence and post-treatment control. 

Scope

This announcement invites application(s) from research institution located in Africa to submit research proposals that will (1) support HIV cure-related research in areas of Africa in which there is a high proportion of people living with HIV and (2), expand our understanding of the persistence of non-subtype B HIV in people on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and the mechanisms of post-treatment control of viremia following cessation of ART. 

This announcement will fund awards of no more than $150,000 per applicant for direct costs for one year. For the purposes of this Competition, applicants should propose projects in the following areas, but not limited to: 

  1. Developing and optimizing assays to quantify the levels of full-length, intact HIV proviral DNA in individuals living with non-subtype B HIV and to determine the proportion of intact, rebound competent, and defective provirus
  2. Understanding the virology of the rebound-competent persistent proviral HIV reservoir
    • Establishment, tissue and cell type distribution
    • Dynamics, including the clonal proliferation of cells harboring HIV provirus and their decay over time 
  3. Studies of the innate and adaptive immune responses to HIV in people living with non-subtype B on ART and the relation of these responses to the rebound-competent viral reservoir, including the sensitivity of the intact reservoir to circulating autologous antibodies and existing T cell responses 
  4. Frequence and mechanism of post treatment control in for people living with non-subtype B HIV

Eligibility

Proposal application materials submitted to CRDF Global must be prepared in English and compiled in the proposal package template. Acceptable file formats are MS Excel (.exsm), MS Word (.docx), and Adobe Acrobat (.pdf). All proposals must be submitted electronically, using CRDF Global’s proposal package template via email: health@crdfglobal.org.

At the conclusion of the electronic submission process, applicants will receive a confirmation message from CRDF Global.

SANTHE is an Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) flagship programme funded by the Science for Africa Foundation through the DELTAS Africa programme; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Gilead Sciences Inc.; and the Ragon Institute of Mass General, MIT, and Harvard.