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UNC And GSK Announce Plans To Cure HIV/AIDS

A picture of the UNC and GSK press conference.

UNC-Chapel Hill has teamed up with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline to find a cure for HIV/AIDS.

Chancellor Carol Folt announced the creation of Qura Therapeutics, which will oversee the new HIV Cure center. The center will bring together researchers from UNC and GSK.

GSK will contribute $20 million for the first five years.

GSK CEO Andrew Witty says research on the virus has come a long way since the 1980s, when a cure for AIDS was thought to be impossible.

"Technology is moving forward so rapidly on so many fronts, we should be ambitious to how we can catalyze those technologies to move forward. We've learned so much more in this period than we thought we knew 25 or 30 years ago."

UNC Medical Professor, Dr. David Margolis, directs the HIV Cure Center. He says it will take time to eradicate HIV.

"We need to grapple with finding patients with infection, preventing spread of infection, treating infection and, then, curing infection. But I think the remarkable thing is that partnerships like this give us all the tools we need to accomplish those goals."

Initial research will test an antiviral drug similar to AZT, which was developed in the 1980s, but instead of targeting the virus, it will target infected cells.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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