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The National Institutes of Health and the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) are awarding 31 grants to U.S. and South African scientists to support research targeting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and HIV-related co-morbidities and cancers. The awards, which total $8 million in first-year funding, are the first to be issued through the South Africa–U.S. Program for Collaborative Biomedical Research. The program, which was established in 2013 with funding from NIH and SAMRC, is designed to foster and/or expand basic, translational, behavioral and applied research to advance scientific discovery among U.S. and South African researchers working collaboratively in the areas of HIV/AIDS and TB. The new awards will support research conducted at eight South African institutions and link scientists at these institutions with U.S. researchers at more than 20 U.S.-based research organizations, including the NIH.
“South Africa is a major partner in the fight to end both HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis,” says Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the NIH. “These new awards tap the scientific expertise of both of our countries in an effort to further key research in these disease areas. We are particularly gratified to work with the South African Medical Research Council given its history of visionary leadership and outstanding commitment to fostering biomedical research excellence and innovation.”
Among the newly funded research projects are those targeting HIV prevention, particularly among high-risk young women; identifying HIV-infected individuals and determining how best to link them to and retain them in medical care; developing strategies for optimizing the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of HIV-associated cancers; and addressing scale-up of TB prevention and treatment strategies, particularly among TB-infected mothers and children. Twelve of the awards will support two years of research; 19 awards will fund five-year collaborative projects. The list of initial 24 awards will be updated to include the seven remaining projects once they are awarded.
In addition to NIAID, other NIH Institutes and Centers participating in the South Africa–U.S. Program for Collaborative Biomedical Research include the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Fogarty International Center and the Office of AIDS Research. It is anticipated that NIH and SAMRC will solicit additional applications for the program in two years.
Source: National Institutes of Health (NIH)