HIV research given a boost with half a million dollar grant

ViiV Healthcare and the Kirby Institute honour Professor David Cooper with the launch of a regional HIV capacity training program

SYDNEY, 19 October 2018: ViiV Healthcare, the global specialist HIV company, and the Kirby Institute, announced today a new grant to support HIV research capacity building in the region. The three-year program will award over half a million dollars to support healthcare professionals in the Asia Pacific region to address national HIV priorities.

The unconditional education grant makes possible a research and training program initially proposed by the late Professor David Cooper, foundation Director of the Kirby Institute and one of the world’s most distinguished HIV clinicians and academic leaders. 

The Cooper HIV/AIDS Research Training (CHART) Program will inspire and increase the number of skilled and experienced HIV researchers in this region and identify ways to address local HIV priorities. 

“We are proud to be able to bring Professor Cooper’s vision of building HIV research capacity to life and grateful for ViiV Healthcare’s grant that enables the implementation of the program. This program builds on our existing training initiatives and will equip participants with the knowledge and tools they need to respond effectively to HIV in the region,” said Professor John Kaldor from the Kirby Institute. 

The Kirby Institute will implement the CHART Program in partnership with the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Disease (TDR). The Kirby Institute’s training model closely aligns with TDR’s Structured Operational Research and Training Initiative (SORT IT), and the CHART Program will include support from facilitators from the TDRs global network of accredited mentors in the region.

“We are immensely proud that this initiative has been established in David’s name,” said Mrs Dorrie Cooper, Professor Cooper’s wife. “Expanding education and research capacity beyond Australia and into the region was a mission that was so dear to David. He always knew there was so much more to be done to ensure that good health was accessible universally, and this program is a vital step in that direction. He would have been so pleased that these funds are being directed in this way.” 

There are an estimated 5.2 million people living with HIV in Asia and the Pacific, yet many remain undiagnosed, and less than 60% are able to access treatment after diagnosis.1  The HIV epidemic in this region is complex, with significant differences between countries in the region.1 This program will generate country-specific research findings to address local HIV priorities.

Australia has been a global exemplar in its response to HIV, making significant progress towards eliminating new HIV transmissions and improving the lives of those living with HIV. The CHART Program will help transfer Australian learnings and train experts to ensure the best scientific evidence underpins local HIV policy and practice.

“For ViiV, partnership is at the core of what we do. Only by working together with communities affected by HIV, policy makers, academic institutions and healthcare professionals will we be able to respond to the demands of a rapidly evolving epidemic. Australia has been a leader when it comes to HIV research and care and we feel it’s our responsibility to support the sharing of that expertise with the region. We’re honoured to support The CHART Program and look forward to seeing positive outcomes for people living with HIV across the region. I’d like to thank Dr John Pottage, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer, ViiV Healthcare, for his support and attending this important announcement,” said Dr Fraser Drummond, Medical Director Australasia, ViiV Healthcare. 

Nine healthcare professionals involved in HIV management will be selected annually from a range of countries in the region. All participants will work on HIV research questions that fit with national HIV priorities. The grant is expected to support three consecutive twelve-month training courses to be conducted across 2019 – 2021. 

ENDS

Notes to editors
About ViiV Healthcare

ViiV Healthcare is a global specialist HIV company established in November 2009 by GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) dedicated to delivering advances in treatment and care for PWHIV. Shionogi joined in October 2012. The company’s aim is to take a deeper and broader interest in HIV/AIDS than any company has done before and take a new approach to deliver effective and new HIV medicines as well as support communities affected by HIV. ViiV Healthcare Australia is based in Melbourne. For more information on the company, its management, portfolio, pipeline and commitment, please visit: www.viivhealthcare.com.au

About Kirby Institute

The Kirby Institute is a leading global research institute dedicated to the prevention and treatment of infectious disease. Established in 1986 in response to the then emerging HIV epidemic, the Kirby Institute now contributes to knowledge on a broad range of diseases, including viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections. The primary work of the Institute relates to the coordination of national surveillance programs, population health and epidemiological research, clinical and behavioural research and clinical trials. Please visit: kirby.unsw.edu.au

References

1 Avert. HIV and AIDS in Asia & The Pacific Regional Overview. Available at: https://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-around-world/asia-pacific/overview. Accessed October 2018.

Date published: 
Tuesday, 23 October 2018
Contact: 
Luci Bamford, Media and Communications Manager
Phone: 
+61 432 894 029
Header image credit: 

Left to right: Fraser Drummond, Liza Doyle, Sean Emery, John Pottage and John Kaldor

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