The Pediatric HIV Cure Fund at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health

Botswana has been at the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic for decades and has led the continent in its response to the crisis. The Botswana-Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP) was established in partnership with the Botswana Ministry of Health in 1996. HSPH and BHP researchers have pioneered key discoveries to reduce mother to child HIV transmission to negligible levels, find the safest and most effective HIV treatments for pregnant women, increase infant survival from HIV infection, reduce the death toll among HIV-infected adults, and curb HIV transmission. Results from studies conducted at BHP have been used to change treatment and public health guidelines written by the World Health Organizations, UNAIDS, and the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Shapiro’s research team is now partnering with the Ragon Institute in Boston to push the frontiers of HIV cure research. We have just completed a critical phase of the Tatelo Study (“the next thing” in Setswana) by successfully using a combination of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs), given intravenously, to suppress HIV for up to 6 months in a select group of children with HIV. This is the first evidence that children – whose immune systems differ from adults – can be treated using antibodies rather than standard antiretroviral treatment. These antibodies offer some advantages over standard treatment (few side effects, infrequent infusions that do not depend on daily adherence, and the possibility of reducing the viral reservoir to very low levels), and may be the first step on the road toward a cure for pediatric HIV. In the next step of this research, we will continue optimizing antibody combinations using newer agents, and training the developing immune system in children to control the small residual reservoir of HIV on its own. We are also developing a study to test the first pediatric mRNA HIV vaccine using personalized HIV constructs from individual children in the Tatelo cohort.

This fund will support our unique cohort of children with HIV for longer follow-up, creating a center of excellence for conducting clinical future trials. We seek to raise funding, which will include re-dedication of this space as a clinical center of excellence. As part of this renovation, we will expand the space available to early-stage investigators, and we will expand the dedicated laboratory resources and space for all research projects.

Thank you for your support of this critical project! For more information and to donate, please visit HarvardChan School donation page (select ‘Other’ from the drop down menu and type the fund name) or contact Dr. Roger Shapiro ( We are grateful for any amount that you can contribute!