Merck & Co. is joining HIV research projects led by two major U.S. universities, a top official with the pharmaceutical firm has announced. "Collaboration has been the hallmark of much of the progress made against HIV since the virus was first identified 30 years ago," said Daria Hazuda, Merck's research laboratories vice president.
Merck will become the only pharmaceutical partner in a new project steered by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. A team including 19 investigators from UNC and eight other universities will look for ways to purge persistent HIV infection from the body.
Concurrently, Merck will work with researchers at the University of California-San Francisco on a five-year effort to define and better understand HIV's reservoirs and test potential treatments.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is the primary funder for both research initiatives. Merck will not receive any funding for its participation.
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