Are we getting close to a cure for HIV/AIDS?

How Canadian researchers are helping defeat the disease

July 17, 2015

It’s been more than 30 years since researchers discovered that HIV causes AIDS. Over the past few decades, researchers have made incredible advances in treating and preventing the disease. But they still haven’t reached the ultimate goal – finding a cure. Researchers continue to work hard to defeat the disease, and they are feeling more optimistic than ever. Listen to Dr. Marc Ouellette, Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity, talk about how Canada is contributing to the global effort to end HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Marc Ouellette

Audio interview


D: This is David Coulombe for CIHR News. 35 million people around the world are living with HIV, but researchers are optimistic. Our guest today is Dr. Marc Ouellette, he is the Scientific Director for the Institute of Infection and Immunity at CIHR.

Dr. Ouellette, thanks for joining us today.

M: Thank you.

D: Let’s talk about HIV. Are we close to finding a cure?

M: Well we’re certainly working on this. You know, if you can remember, 20 years ago HIV was a deadly disease. Now, in Canada, it is a chronic disease and we’re working very hard to make a cure for HIV/AIDS.

D: This looks like good news.

M: Well, it is very good news, I mean we’re still not there yet and there’s a lot of research that needs to be done, but there are already some cases in the world that show that indeed, it is possible to cure HIV/AIDS.

D: What are some obstacles to finding a cure?

M: Well, one of the main obstacles is the virus itself. As you know, HIV/AIDS is caused by a virus and this virus will hide within cells. Basically, the challenge now is to get this virus out of the cells and then to attack it with drugs or different molecules to be able to eliminate the virus.

D: How is Canada contributing to the global effort against HIV?

M: As you correctly point out, it’s a very global effort to try to cure HIV/AIDS and Canada is very well positioned. Actually, in 2014, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded a major investment in HIV/AIDS cure of 10 million dollars.

D: So you really are optimistic?

M: Well of course, it’s a fantastic challenge to cure a virus that integrates within your cells, but yes, I’m optimistic because there are track records to move forward on this very important endeavor.

D: This is good news. Thank you Dr. Ouellette.

M: It was my pleasure, thank you.

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