NIH and Gates Foundation Will Collaborate to Bring Gene-Based Remedies for HIV and Sickle Cell Disease

NIH and Gates Foundation Will Collaborate to Bring Gene-Based Remedies for HIV and Sickle Cell Disease


The NIH (National Institutes of Health) has announced that it will invest $100 million in the upcoming four years. Through the latest event, the company aims to treat sickle cell disease and HIV with gene therapies. To achieve the aim, the federal health agency aims to collaborate with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Notably, the alliance intends to make the therapies affordable and obtainable to people across the globe. Both together aim to roll out the treatment, notably in developing countries where the disease has affected a massive group of people. NIH’s Director, Dr. Francis Collins, said this is an extremely bold goal, but they have decided to do something great.

Currently, both conventional gene therapies and genome-editing techniques like CRISPR, are and will continue to be exceedingly expensive. Thus, such treatments are beyond the reach of the vast majority of patients. Currently, gene therapy for a rare type of blindness, Spark Therapeutics’ Luxturna, requires $425,000 for every eye. Thus the partnership aims to introduce cures set for testing in clinical trials in the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa within the upcoming years.

The director of The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said the NIH has attempted to find a treatment for HIV for years. But existing treatments with antiretroviral therapy (ART) are beneficial at controlling the virus in the body; they are not a treatment. Thus it is essential to take the medication every day. Even more, there are millions of HIV patients across the globe who do not have access to ART treatment.

The researchers are striving to build gene-based remedies for HIV. These methodologies are also costly, and it would be difficult to make them available for a large group of people. Fauci said for this reason they are seeking for the new collaboration that will focus on developing treatments that use in-vivo approaches. It other words, the cures will happen inside the body. Still, there is a lot of work to ensure that these therapies are beneficial and safe. If successful, the project would contribute to Trump’s aim to end the HIV outbreak in the U.S. in the upcoming decade