TORONTO—Researchers from the Partners AIDS Research Center (PARC) at Massachusetts General Hospital announced the formation of an international multi-institutional effort to discovery how some HIV-positive people manage to naturally suppress virus replication. The Elite Controller Collaborative Study is a large-scale haplotype mapping project looking for genetic factors that explain the existence of these "long-term nonprogressors".
"We want to use that knowledge to develop a first-generation HIV vaccine, which may not cure or prevent infection but could successfully suppress viral levels," explains Dr. Florencia Pereyra, a PARC researcher and lead coordinator of the team. "Since this natural ability is so rare, we need to work with collaborators around the world to recruit the number of participants we will need to determine what is going on."
To date, the study has enrolled almost 200 participants from across the United States, but it looks forward to enrolling people from around the world. Collaborators in countries such as Canada, the Netherlands, Australia and the United Kingdom are sure to help in this process.