Image: Professor Gilda Tachedjian, Burnet Institute Head of Life Sciences
Burnet Institute studies focused on vaccine development and the formulation of an anti-inflammatory gel for women with harmful vaginal bacteria have attracted vital funding from the Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis Virology Research (ACH2).
An ACH2 grant will support Professor Gilda Tachedjian’s research to formulate a gel containing lactic acid, which has an anti-inflammatory effect on harmful bacteria in the vagina, a condition called bacterial vaginosis.
“That’s important because we know that inflammation drives HIV in women, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Professor Tachedjian, Burnet’s Head of Life Sciences, said.
“We’re interested in moving our observations from in vitro studies to see whether applying lactic acid can decrease inflammation in vivo in these women who’ve already got this inflammatory milieu in the vagina.”
“We’re setting up a clinical trial with Dr Catriona Bradshaw at the Melbourne Sexual health Centre, and that’s the first step towards developing our idea into an intervention for women to prevent them from getting HIV.
“We’re thrilled to have support from ACH2 to be able to do these studies.”
Dr Andy Poumbourios and Associate Professor Heidi Drummer have also won ACH2 grants for their research to develop vaccines for HIV and hepatitis C.
“Andy’s and Heidi’s work is underpinned by fabulous basic research, strong publications in the area and funded by NHMRC,” Professor Tachedjian said.
“Without a vaccine we’re not going to be able to eliminate these viruses, so it’s really important work.”
Find out more about Burnet’s research into HIV and hepatitis C.