Research-for-Cure Academy

Emmanuel Ndashimye

Nationality: Ugandan
Institution: Western University
Country of work: Canada

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

Though we have access to potent drugs that suppress the virus to undetectable levels, patients must take drugs for the rest of their lives. Globally, 79% of people living with HIV know their status and are on cART. Moreover, 10-15% of patients initiating ART fail at 12 months. HIV drug resistance is a leading factor to treatment failure and now responsible for 9% of new HIV infections. As we push to finding HIV vaccine, maximising the efficacy of treatment is crucial, and as such, I’m motivated in studying how HIV evolves in presence of drugs and finding novel resistance pathways.

What is your current area of research?

I’m looking at the level of resistance conferred by different drug resistant mutations focussing on non-B HIV subtypes; identifying and characterising novel resistance pathways to different antiretrovirals especially HIV integrase inhibitors; looking at whether low frequency variants are selected to become dominant mutations in presence of drug pressure; investigating effect of resistance mutations to HIV integrase inhibitors to selection of integration sites, and occurrence of aberrant integrations. Part of my research is also studying use of latent reversal agent (ACT-VEC) as HIV therapeutic vaccine and cure approach, and the role of physical mucosal barrier in preventing systemic HIV acquisition.