Research-for-Cure Academy

Sikhulile Moyo

Nationality: Zimbabwean
Institution: Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute
Country of Work: Botswana

What is your motivation for engaging in HIV cure and remission research?

I have always been fascinated and inspired by the prospects of HIV cure – through the “Berlin Patient”, “London Patient”, the “Mississippi baby” and “South African Child”, despite trials and tribulations around this topic. Even if we do not get to a sterilizing eradication of the virus, the concept of the functional cure seems to be an achievable goal. If can find ways of training the immune system, as in the example of elite controllers, or reduce the seeding or size of the reservoir using very early treatment – the virus can be kept very low in the absence of antiretroviral therapy.

What is your current area of research?

I am a research scientist contributing towards the fight against the HIV epidemic in Africa through basic science research, clinical trials and public health programming. My goal is to contribute towards realizing an HIV free generation. Despite relentless efforts in ending the HIV epidemic, new infections occur daily. The focus of my research is understanding early founder viruses, characterizing incident HIV infections, the impact of very early and long-term ART on duration of remission and size of the reservoir, HIV viral evolution, drug resistance and HIV co-infections. The Research-for-Cure Academy is an excellent opportunity to equip me for these goals.