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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University March 21, 2005 | Vol. 34 No. 26
Elizabeth Glaser AIDS Award Goes to Persaud

By Jessica Collins
Johns Hopkins Medicine

Deborah Persaud, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, is the 2005 recipient of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation's 2005 Scientist Award, which includes a $700,000 research grant.

Calling the award an "incredible honor," Persaud said that the funds will advance her work on extent, effect and persistence of HIV drug resistance in children exposed as infants to antiretroviral drugs. "This research is critical to developing appropriate HIV prevention and treatment strategies for children," she said.

Using ultra-sensitive genotyping assays, Persaud and her team will study children who received treatment to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the disease but who nevertheless became infected. The study will include patient populations in both the United States, where infected infants are treated immediately after birth with highly active antiretroviral therapy to delay disease progression and death, and in Ethiopia, where access to such treatment is limited or unavailable.

"Timely analysis of the prevalence and persistence of drug-resistant HIV in children living in resource-rich and resource-poor settings will provide important insights into the optimal use of antiretroviral drugs for children worldwide," Persaud said.

An estimated 3 million children worldwide are infected with HIV. Antiretroviral therapies now keep children born with HIV alive well into their teenage years and early adulthood, but physicians are seeing an increase in hard-to-treat drug resistance.

Since 1996, the foundation has awarded more than $22.5 million to 33 Elizabeth Glaser scientists, a network of researchers who work in vaccine development, immune response, breast milk transmission and other critical areas that impact the entire field of HIV/AIDS research.


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