Today (December 1, 2017) marks the 10th anniversary of the AIDS Institute of Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong (HKU). The Institute hosts a joint celebration of its 10th anniversary with the Comprehensive AIDS Research Center of Tsinghua University, China on the occasion of this year’s World AIDS Day. This year also marks the Faculty’s celebration of “130 Years of Medicine in Hong Kong”.
The celebration features the “Grand Challenges on HIV Cure and Vaccine” symposium with over 30 local, Mainland and overseas speakers and principal investigators, who are leading the cutting-edge HIV/AIDS researches. This event reinforces HKU’s commitment and strategic direction in the fight against the global AIDS crisis, as well as the HKU’s strategic partnership with Tsinghua University.
Since 1981, AIDS has resulted in 40 million deaths. Currently, there are 36.9 million people living with HIV. Although antiretroviral therapy controls disease progression, reduces viral transmission and improves the quality of life of infected individuals, AIDS remains incurable and the number of HIV-1 infections continues to grow across the world including Hong Kong. Therefore, the symposium aims to brainstorm research priorities on HIV cure and vaccine development, to share new research findings and to encourage broader collaborations.
HKU AIDS Institute has made numerous original discoveries since its establishment in 2007. Besides high impact publications, a promising PD1-based immunotherapeutic vaccine and a potent bi-specific neutralising antibody have already been licensed to industry partners through HKU Technology Transfer Office for clinical development as “Made in Hong Kong” biomedical products for functional cure of HIV/AIDS.
With support from China’s 13th five-year HIV/AIDS Mega-Project, a promising vaccinia Tiantan-based mucosal vaccine regimen will enter clinical studies in collaboration with the Comprehensive AIDS Research Center of Tsinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Science. This symposium also celebrates the success of a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenge grant on HIV-1 vaccine design jointly obtained by Tsinghua University, National Institutes of Health, USA and The University of Hong Kong. These highlighted progresses mark a major step forward by HKU AIDS Institute in the world frontier of AIDS research.
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