June 26, 2013
The Collaborative Initiative for Pediatric Health Education and Research (CIPHER) Grant Program awarded more than $1 million to seven early-stage researchers for projects that address priority research gaps in pediatric HIV in resource-limited settings.
One of the awards went to Matthew Kelly, MD, MPH, for the project entitled The Effect of in utero exposure to HIV and antiretroviral therapy on the microbiology and outcomes of severe pneumonia.
Dr. Kelly received the grant as a CHOP Global Health Fellow, and will lead the research during his infectious disease fellowship at Duke University Hospital. Three current CHOP faculty are also working on the grant; Kristen Feemster, MD, Rodney Finalle, MD and Andrew Steenhoff, MBBCh, DCH.
Dr. Kelly’s project is focused on a category of children referred to as HIV-exposed, uninfected – children who are born to HIV-infected mothers but who do not themselves acquire the virus. In Botswana, where there is a continued high prevalence of HIV among pregnant women and a very low mother-to-child transmission rate, these infants represent about 30 percent of children born in the country.
For reasons that remain unclear, these infants are much more likely to die during the first two years of life than the infants of HIV-negative mothers in Botswana and throughout Africa. One of the goals of our project was to explore what factors may be placing these children at high-risk for health outcomes. The project focuses on pneumonia, the leading killer of children in Botswana and worldwide, which likely contributes to the poor outcomes among exposed, uninfected infants.
Funding from CIPHER will let Dr. Kelly continue his work in Botswana until June 2015.