Research grant may benefit AIDS victims

The University will remain in the forefront of HIV/AIDS research, because of a $43 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Officials announced Thursday that the University’s School of Public Health will receive the money to head up a research project that will be conducted at more than 200 research sites in 18 different countries. The grant will not just boost the University’s reputation, but, more importantly might extend the life of individuals infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
The money will be used to support a five-year trial of a new drug — interleukin-2. The drug is a synthesized version of a protein that occurs naturally in the human body. In a normal body, the protein is produced by the immune system and stimulates the production of cells that protect the immune system. However, in individuals with HIV, the body does not produce enough of the cells, which leaves the person unprotected against diseases and infections.
The international aspect of the research is particularly valuable because researchers will be able to determine if different groups of people react differently to the drug. However, it is unfortunate that none of the research facilities are located in Africa, which has the largest infection rates in the world.
Despite this flaw, the project could potentially save millions of people if the drug successfully staves off the progression of AIDS. University researchers should be proud of the recognition and grateful for the chance to help people.