New York Blood Center Researcher Receives $3.5million NIH Grant for HIV Drug Development
February 28, 2013 / New York, NY -- Asim K. Debnath, Ph.D., a researcher at New York Blood Center's (NYBC) Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute (LFKRI), has been awarded a $3.5 million grant over five years from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant will support research to design novel inhibitors against human immune deficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and bring the most potent inhibitors to pre-clinical testing as potential new HIV drug candidates.
'The first step in HIV-1 infection is the entry of the virus into the host cell,' said Debnath, Head of Molecular Modeling and Drug Design at LFKRI and the Principal Investigator of the NIH grant. 'We pioneered the identification of small molecule inhibitors which bind to a specific site that is highly conserved among HIV-1 strains and critical for viral entry and, therefore, vulnerable to inhibition by new drugs. This award will support our continued research in designing next generation inhibitors as potential new HIV drugs.'
Each year, 50,000 people in the United States become infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Currently, there are an estimated 1.1 million people in the United States and 34 million people globally who are living with HIV infection. In 2011, 1.7 million people died from AIDS-related causes.