ViiV Healthcare has announced 109 projects from 26 countries that have received funding from its £3m Global HIV and Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund, which was launched at the end of April.

The fund involves two major streams – research grants and community grants. It aims to support projects researching the medical impact of Covid-19 on people living with HIV, as well as help necessary local initiatives and organisations that are struggling to support the HIV community in the pandemic.

The company’s head of external affairs and communications Stephen Rea said: “The overwhelming response from research and community-based organisations to our Global HIV and COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund underlines the significant burden felt by people living with HIV during the pandemic. 

“Very understandably, people living with HIV and their physicians have mounting questions about the risks COVID-19 poses, and so we have elected to use our Research grants to support those studies seeking to find answers.

“It’s our hope that our Community grants will help mitigate some of the disruptions to health services and supplies, which the WHO and UNAIDS have estimated could lead to more than half a million additional AIDS-related deaths.” 

One of the recipients of research grant funding is Harvard Medical School professor of medicine and one of the leader investigators of HIV REPRIEVE study Dr Steven Grinspoon.

He stated: “With support from ViiV Healthcare, we will investigate an innovative approach, using proteomics, to test whether the introduction of statins will mitigate the severity of Covid-19 in people living with HIV, and whether such effects will lead to an improved response to Covid-related inflammation, immune activation, and complications in the heart and lungs.

“Through our research, we hope to provide much needed information about COVID-19, the impact of HIV on the body’s immune response to Covid-19, and the possible protective effects of statins that will be important for people living with HIV as well as the general population.”