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Pharma Co. Commits Millions to Study COVID's Effect on HIV+ People


ViiV Healthcare is creating the Global HIV and COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.

The British pharmaceutical company ViiV Healthcare is launching a Global HIV and COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund with £3 million in funding, equivalent to over $3.7 million.

The Emergency Response Fund will "make available critical financial resources for research projects to study the medical and scientific impact COVID-19 is having on people living with HIV and community-based grants to help address specific challenges to the HIV community created by the global pandemic," according to a company statement released on Monday.

The funding will be split, with half going to scientific research on COVID's effect on people living with HIV, and the other £1.5 million going toward "community-based activities that address the specific challenges faced by people living with HIV during this pandemic."

The novel coronavirus's impact on people living with HIV is not completely clear. Medical experts have advised that HIV-positive people adhering to their antiretrovirals and with healthy viral loads fare no worse with COVID-19 than HIV-negative individuals. HIV-positive people not on regimens and with lower viral loads, or with risk factors like cancer or smoking, are more concerning to health professionals.  

"Our mission is to leave no person living with HIV behind and in these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever that we use our resources and expertise to do just that," ViiV Healthcare CEO Deborah Waterhouse said in a statement. "To contribute to finding solutions, ViiV Healthcare is proud to announce the Global HIV and COVID-19 Emergency Fund. Through this fund, we can support research about the impact of COVID-19 on people living with HIV that is urgently needed. We will also be able to provide support to local community organisations who are grounded in the response to the pandemic and those who have been impacted by COVID-19 to allow them to continue the important work they are doing to support the HIV community. We know their support of the broader health system will help save lives."

In announcing the Emergency Response Fund, ViiV notes that the company's majority owner, GSK, is also working to establish a COVID-19 vaccine.

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