Research Activity

Areas of Research

1. Research on sexually transmitted infections (STI's), intestinal parasites and HIV
This research has been conducted in Ethiopia. Researchers gained important insights regarding the impact of treatment of sexually transmitted infections on HIV load in genital secretions and the impact of deworming on HIV load in the plasma. It is of note that this high quality research in Ethiopia has led to publication of 4 papers in high impact journals. The Ethiopian cohorts have been effectively organized through a collaboration between EHNRI (Ethiopian Health & Nutrition Research Institute) in Addis Ababa and the Hadassah AIDS Center (HAC). HAC initiated this research and led to its successful completion.

2. Research on cross clade CTL response in patients infected by HIV subtype C and on CTL escape mutations of HIV subtype C
This immunologic-virologic-HLA research has been conducted in collaboration with Duke university. CTL escape mutations were detected against a background of the unique HLA profile of Ethiopian patients infected by HIV subtype C. Unique escape mutations were detected in these HIV+ patients. This research also led to the full length sequencing of HIV subtype C and to the recognition that a great degree of cross clade (=cross subtype) immune response exists in Ethiopian patients exposed to their own HIV clade as well as to other HIV clades. These findings have immense importance in the development of a new CTL based HIV vaccine geared towards sub-Saharan Africa. It thus may not be necessary to always use the HIV clade C itself as the immunogen. Rather, other HIV clades (e.g:Clade B) may serve that purpose as well.

3. Epidemiological research on HIV drug resistance in Israel
This research studied the development of primary drug resistance due to exposure to ARV's (antiretrovirals) in Israel. It was discovered that up to 20% of new HIV infections in Israel already carry an HIV which has at least one primary drug resistance mutation. The importance of this finding is obvious and may undermine the continued success of ARV treatments in Israel.

In other research work, we compared the dynamics of development of HIV drug resistance in patients receiving ARV's and infected by HIV subtypes C and non-C in Israel. We discovered that the dynamics of development of specific point mutations was similar among the different HIV subtypes.

4. Social Research
A survey on social factors influencing the choice of clients at the Hadassah AIDS Center HIV testing station: Anonymous testing or confidential. We discovered that more clients seeking anonymous HIV testing are reporting unsafe sexual practices. This research was the subject of a recent thesis work.

5. OB/GYN Clinical AIDS Research
The obstetric outcome of HIV+ pregnant women in the Jerusalem area was monitored prospectively. We discovered that non-adherence with ARV regimens is associated with a significant degree of perinatal HIV transmission.

6. Nutrition and HIV
A new study researches the effect of Nutracea, a rice-based food supplement on the immune recovery of HIV+ Israeli patients.