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Considerations for progression in science and practice related to HIV therapy

Written by Kricia Ruano, graduate student, Vanderbilt University and participant in the Institute for Public Health Summer Research Program

Dr. George Kyei, assistant professor—whose primary research focuses on infectious diseases, HIV latency and reservoir maintenance—gave a presentation this week during the summer research program.

Dr. George Kyei was born and raised in Ghana, where he attended the University of Ghana Medical School in Accra, Ghana. His interest in basic science and biological concepts to understand medical phenomena prompted his pursue of a PhD in biomedical sciences at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM. Dr. Kyei then completed his residency at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and subsequently completed a fellowship in infectious diseases at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Dr. Kyei focused his presentation on the variety, practicality, feasibility, cost, and ethical hazards of current HIV therapy methods. While quality of life has significantly increased since the onset of antiretroviral therapy (ART), scientists are on the pursuit of a short-term cure that may completely eradicate the virus without need of continuous treatment. Strategies for latency reversion include shock & kill, block & lock, immunotherapies and cell gene therapies. These strategies vary in terms of feasibility, risk, and ethics. While there may not be a current one-dose therapy treatment to eradicate HIV, Dr. Kyei remains hopeful that it is on its way.