UKZN scientist gets prestigious international appointment working towards an HIV cure

Professor Thumbi Ndung’u set to co-chair the ‘Towards an HIV Cure’ advisory board. Picture: Supplied

Professor Thumbi Ndung’u set to co-chair the ‘Towards an HIV Cure’ advisory board. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 3, 2022


Cape Town - A top scientist from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has been appointed by the International Aids Society (IAS) as co-chair of its ‘Towards an HIV Cure’ advisory board.

Professor Thumbi Ndung’u is known to be an HIV cure research pioneer and is currently the scientific director of the HIV/TB Research at UKZN’s HIV Pathogenesis Programme.

He is also the director for basic and translational science at the Africa Health Research Institute, and chair of the South Africa Research in Systems Biology of HIV/AIDS.

Ndung’u will co-chair with Professor Sharon Lewin, director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, based in Melbourne, Australia.

“The mission of the ‘Towards an HIV Cure’ programme is to drive concerted efforts to accelerate global scientific research, advocacy and collaboration towards a cure for HIV.

“I will work to ensure diversity and inclusivity in research and for impact of the research in areas where it is most needed,” he said.

Founded in 1988, IAS is the world's largest association of HIV professionals, with members in more than 170 countries.

The ‘Towards an HIV Cure’ programme was launched in 2011 with a focus on advancing the resources for a possible HIV cure where research is limited, and to facilitate interaction with HIV and other biomedical research areas.

The board will provide strategic advice to the IAS, guide the programme and lead the implementation of its activities.

Ndung’u work has primarily focused on understudied populations and viral strains in resource-limited, high burden settings.

He has also studied the role of antiviral immune responses, viral strains and associated genetic factors that are likely to yield the greatest impact in terms of biomedical interventions like vaccines or immune-based cure strategies.