ViiV Healthcare, the global specialist HIV company majority owned by GSK, with Pfizer Inc. and Shionogi Limited as shareholders, have announced the creation of the Global HIV and COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.
The £3 million fund will make available critical financial resources for research projects to study the medical and scientific impact COVID-19 is having on people living with HIV and community-based grants to help address specific challenges to the HIV community created by the global pandemic.
To help improve the understanding and management of the COVID-19 pandemic in people living with HIV, ViiV Healthcare is inviting research proposals within three priority areas of interest that include epidemiology and real-world data, healthcare systems management initiatives in COVID-19 environments, and biomarkers indicative of disease susceptibility, severity, and progression.
Successful proposals will be awarded grants from the £1.5 million Research Emergency Response Fund to undertake independent research through ViiV Healthcare’s existing Investigator Sponsored Studies (ISS) programme. Interested applicants may visit the dedicated ViiV Healthcare site for proposal materials as well as additional information on eligibility criteria and how to apply. Requests for proposals will be open from 27 April through 18 May. The proposals will be reviewed by an internal ViiV Healthcare scientific panel and successful applicants notified by 5 June.
Deborah Waterhouse, Chief Executive Officer at ViiV Healthcare said: “Our mission is to leave no person living with HIV behind and in these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever that we use our resources and expertise to do just that.
“To contribute to finding solutions, ViiV Healthcare is proud to announce the Global HIV and COVID-19 Emergency Fund. Through this fund, we can support research about the impact of COVID-19 on people living with HIV that is urgently needed.
“We will also be able to provide support to local community organisations who are grounded in the response to the pandemic and those who have been impacted by COVID-19 to allow them to continue the important work they are doing to support the HIV community. We know their support of the broader health system will help save lives.”
The ViiV Healthcare Global HIV and COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund will be divided equally between two programmes and grants will be available through a request for proposal (RFP) process.
The Research Emergency Response Fund will make available up to £1.5 million to support scientific research about the impact of COVID-19 on people living with HIV.
The Community Emergency Response Fund will make available up to £1.5 million to support community-based activities that address the specific challenges faced by people living with HIV during this pandemic.
Harmony Garges, Chief Medical Officer at ViiV Healthcare said: “Because COVID-19 is caused by a novel virus, we don’t have scientific data to answer some of the important questions that are being raised by people living with HIV and their physicians. Does HIV put a person at greater risk of getting COVID-19? Are people living with HIV more at risk of severe infection? Is the pandemic preventing people with HIV from seeing their healthcare providers and getting the treatment and care they need?
“The HIV community at large has asked us for help to immediately start studying these issues and the Global HIV and COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund has been created to support their efforts.”