Barts and The London HIV Service >> Research and academia
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Research and academia

HIV research

In addition to our own research program, we are always involved in colaborative research into new HIV treatments. Currently we have three main areas of research;

New treatment strategies

Our research department has become one of the most active in the country in collaborative drug trials. We are always recruiting to several research trials of new HIV treatments, which means that we can offer new treatment strategies to our patients as soon as they become available.


Pharmacogenetics is the study of the extent to which genetic differences influence an individual’s response to certain drug therapies. Some individuals respond well to some therapies while others find the same drug can fail to be effective. We are the lead investigators into HLA-B* 5701 testing across ethnically diverse population based within London - HLA-B* 5701 is a type of testing which may help to identify patients with a lower risk of developing sensitivity to certain drug treatments.

This is a collaborative study which involves working with investigators from a number of academic institutions and hospitals including Imperial College and St George’s.

Neutralising antibodies

Our second main area of research involves working with Professor Aine McKnight, a scientist in the medical school here at Barts and the London, together we are part of a Bill and Melinda Gates grant to study neutralising antibodies in HIV across viral subtypes. 

Different strains of HIV can be sub grouped according to genes. For example, HIV-1 group M is the most common subtype globally, but the group is further divided into subtypes A, B, C and D – subtype B is the most common in the UK. Some studies have shown that these different subtypes can have different effects on HIV transmission, development of resistance and disease progression. This research has now evolved to include work on what suppresses the virus across all groups and we plan to work on serodiscordant couples (one partner is positive and the other negative) in the future.

Training and development

In 2008, we will be one of the first centre’s in the UK to offer the HIV educational course (HIVEd), a two day course in basic HIV medicine for GPs.