Control Viral Infection Through an Understanding of HIV Reservoir Dynamics

Funding News Edition: May 05, 2021
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NIAID seeks applications for program projects focused on comprehending the mechanisms of HIV reservoir dynamics through the new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) Understanding HIV Reservoir Dynamics (P01, Clinical Trial Not Allowed).

Combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) enables long-term suppression of HIV replication in people living with HIV (PLWH). Yet despite optimal suppression of viral replication, the HIV reservoir in long-lived cells will cause plasma viremia to rebound if cART is stopped. We need to further define the population dynamics of the rebound-competent HIV reservoir across a spectrum of individuals, and determine how various therapeutic interventions affect reservoir composition over time. 

Thus, the FOA is designed to support innovative, multidisciplinary, multiproject research focused on understanding HIV reservoir dynamics, which is essential to informing the development of strategies to cure HIV.

Scientific Areas of Interest

Propose research projects that use clinical samples from individuals who initiated cART at different time points during the course of infection and have been virally suppressed for various periods of time. You are also encouraged to use relevant animal models. Below are some research areas of interest; refer to the FOA linked above for a complete list. 

  • Identify the fundamental mechanisms of reservoir establishment and maintenance
  • Quantify changes in clonal proliferation in the reservoir over time
  • Define the mechanisms governing spontaneous in vivo reactivation of intact HIV provirus
  • Define the “rebound competence” of intact proviral populations in different tissues in individuals over time and in different stages of infection
  • Determine the immune mechanisms impacting HIV reservoir dynamics and viral rebound

Nonresponsive Research Areas

NIAID will consider applications that propose research on the following topics nonresponsive and will not review them.

  • Studies that do not extend to primary cells from HIV/SIV-infected hosts or to in vivo studies
  • Studies that focus exclusively on therapeutic or vaccine discovery or development
  • Studies that do not distinguish between defective and intact provirus
  • Clinical trials

Synergy in Multiproject Applications

Synergy within the context of a multiproject application involves enhancing scientific knowledge, ideas, and outcomes obtained through the cooperative interactions of the individual projects and cores. The outcomes that result from conducting the proposed research as a program should exceed that of conducting separate research activities as single project applications.

When scoring the overall program, reviewers consider each project and core, synergy among projects, and impact—the likelihood for the program to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved.

When evaluating synergy, reviewers determine how convincingly the applications describe the added value gained by conducting the proposed research as a program rather than through separate research efforts.

For more information on multiproject applications and the importance of synergy, read Multiproject Research (P, U) Applications on our website. 

Deadline and Contact Information

Application budgets are limited to $1 million in annual direct costs and must reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. The scope of the proposed project determines the project period, which cannot exceed five years.

Applications are due on July 30, 2021, by 5 p.m. local time of the applicant organization. 

Direct any scientific questions to Dr. Leia Novak, NIAID’s research contact. Our peer review contact is Dr. J. Bruce Sundstrom.

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