Beginning this month, researchers from all over Brazil will begin to receive funding from the Brazilian Ministry of Health and the United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organization (UNESCO) to carry out studies on AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
A total of US$ 2.1 million will be divided among the 28 projects that were selected.
"We launched a national call for research, and 110 projects were submitted from all over the country. We chose the 28 best ones, and each will receive from US$ 106 thousand to US$ 213 thousand," explained Cristina Possas, head of the research and technological development unit in the Ministry’s STD/AIDS Program.
She pointed out that the studies will last up to 2 years. "They are projects in the area of clinical research, the social area, the area of vaccines, and various other technological developments in the diagnostic field," she said.
Teaching and research institutions, non-governmental organizations, and health services took part in the selection. The winners include projects presented by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro, the University of São Paulo (USP), and the State University in Campinas (UNICAMP).
"We believe that we will obtain significant advances in the evaluation of anti-retroviral treatment, studies on patients’ fidelity to therapy, and on vertical transmission of HIV, which is transmission from mother to child," Possas pointed out.
Carlos Roberto Alves, an infectious disease specialist who is the coordinator of one of the projects that was selected, commended the Ministry of Health and UNESCO’s national call for research and said that it is a way "to democratize access" to research funds.
"This leads to an increase in knowledge about AIDS in Brazil, and, as a result, steps to improve our activities in this area can be discovered," Alves emphasized.