• Role of interferon exposure in acquisition of HIV

    D r Lyle McKinnon, a CAPRISA Research Associate, was recently awarded a grant from the Canadian Institutes for Health Re-search to investigate mucosal type I IFN desensiti-zation and the risk of HIV acquisition. The project is a collaboration between the University of Manitoba, University of Nairobi and CAPRISA and includes co-investigators Dr Tom Hope, Professor at North-western University; Dr Thomas Murooka, Associate Professor at University of Manitoba; and Steven Bosinger, Director of the Yerkes Functional Ge-nomics Team Emory University.

    This study will investigate whether prolonged expression of type I interferons in the female repro-ductive tract increases HIV risk by impairing HIV target cells in their ability to upregulate antiviral in-terferon pathways, thereby increasing their ability to support HIV replication at the time of HIV exposure in the mucosa. This study will contribute to re-search regarding how the immune system is ex-ploited by HIV at the time of virus transmission and will provide information on the role of interferon ex-posure in acquisition of HIV. The research pro-duced by this study has the potential to provide a better understanding of HIV transmission and could have important implications on risk profiling in clini-cal interventions.

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Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa

CAPRISA was created in 2001 and formally established in 2002 under the NIH-funded Comprehensive International Program of Research on AIDS (CIPRA) by five partner institutions; University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Cape Town, University of Western Cape, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, and Columbia University in New York. CAPRISA is a designated UNAIDS Collaborating Centre for HIV Prevention Research. The main goal of CAPRISA is to undertake globally relevant and locally responsive research that contributes to understanding HIV pathogenesis, prevention and epidemiology as well as the links between tuberculosis and AIDS care.