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Major funding awarded to improve treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis and HIV co-infection
Date:7/26/2010

July 23, 2010 (BRONX, NY) For the third time in four months, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University a research grant aimed at helping people infected with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Taken together, all three NIH grants total $8.57 million.

The latest awardee Neel Gandhi, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and of epidemiology & population health at Einstein received a five-year, $4 million grant for the first-ever prospective study of antiretroviral therapy for people in South Africa who are co-infected with MDR-TB and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. "Recent studies have shown that Africa is now facing a rising incidence of people infected with MDR-TB as well as HIV, raising concerns of a catastrophic convergence of the two epidemics," said Dr. Gandhi, the study's principal investigator.

According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, an estimated 5.7 million people in South Africa are living with HIV and AIDS - the highest prevalence of any country in the world. TB patients co-infected with HIV face an increased risk of developing active TB disease because HIV infection impairs the ability of the immune system to combat TB.

"No one has looked at how best to treat these patients," said Dr. Gandhi. "The goal of our study is to gather evidence that will guide clinical practice and public health policy for MDR-TB/HIV disease worldwide."

The study will examine whether adding antiretroviral therapy (ART) to MDR-TB therapy is helpful for people
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Contact: Deirdre Branley
sciencenews@einstein.yu.edu
718-430-3101
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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