Deborah Persaud, a pediatric infectious disease
specialist at the
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.