ViiV Healthcare announces grantees selected as part of £3 million Fund dedicated to HIV research and community-based programmes during COVID-19 pandemic

Over 400 grant requests received for the Global HIV and COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, a fund launched to support research into the impact of COVID-19 on people living with HIV and fill gaps in prevention, treatment and care brought by the pandemic

London, 30 June 2020 – ViiV Healthcare, the global specialist HIV company majority-owned by GSK, with Pfizer Inc. and Shionogi Limited as shareholders, today announced that 109 projects from 26 countries will be supported by its Global HIV and COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. The Fund, which was launched on 27 April 2020, will provide critical financial resources at a time when COVID-19 threatens to erode more than a decade’s progress in AIDS-related mortality1 and represents ViiV Healthcare’s ongoing commitment to ending the HIV and AIDS epidemic.

During a three-week request for proposal (RFP) period, ViiV Healthcare received more than 400 applications from across the world, with eligible submissions coming from Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and the US. The Fund comprises a Research Emergency Response Fund and a Community Emergency Response Fund. The Research Fund will support studies into the medical and scientific effects of COVID-19 on people living with HIV, including the impact of co-morbidities. The Community Fund will focus on community-based organisations, and their work to counteract disruption to HIV care services and support caused by the pandemic. Organisations were asked to apply for funding from one of the two streams.

Stephen Rea, Head of External Affairs and Communications at ViiV Healthcare 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.1 We see the valuable work afforded by both Funds as critical to ensuring we leave no person living with HIV behind.”

Research Emergency Response Fund Grants
The £1.5 million Research Emergency Response Fund aims to support crucial studies into the medical and scientific impact of COVID-19 on people living with HIV and is being split across seven projects spanning three priority areas of interest: epidemiology and real-world data; healthcare management initiatives in COVID-19 environments; and biomarkers indicative of disease susceptibility, severity and progression. 

Dr. Steven Grinspoon, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and one of the Lead Investigators of the REPRIEVE study, said: “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.”

Community Emergency Response Fund Grants
This £1.5 million in funding will be shared between 102 community-based projects that strive to address specific challenges facing the HIV community as a direct result of the pandemic. The projects span four categories: maintaining access to HIV treatment* and care; providing online support in lieu of face-to-face delivery; financial aid to help sustain essential community workers and services; and monitoring mechanisms to track community feedback around the impact of COVID-19. 

Nathaly Rubio-Torio, Executive Director of VOCES Latinas in New York City (NYC) said: “The devastation our community of Western Queens in NYC is facing due to COVID-19 is like no other, and it has intensified the need for basic necessities like food and shelter. With support from ViiV Healthcare and others who are stepping up in creative ways, we’re providing vulnerable people living with HIV and AIDS and our wider community with the essentials, as we continue to work to connect people to care.”

The broader COVID-19 response
We are proud of everything our majority shareholder, GSK, is doing to contribute to solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the research and production of candidate COVID-19 vaccines and the ground-breaking collaboration recently announced between GSK and Sanofi, bringing together two of the world’s largest vaccine companies to fight COVID-19. 

Along with GSK, we are also involved in a number of partnerships and initiatives to respond to COVID-19 and are working together to conduct screening and research into new medicines as well as helping frontline health workers and offering expertise where we can.

For more information about ViiV Healthcare’s HIV and COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, please click here.

*The Community Emergency Fund is not intended for the purchase of pharmaceutical products.

Notes to editors
Full details of initiatives that have been awarded a grant through the ViiV Healthcare Global HIV and COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund can be found here.

About ViiV Healthcare
ViiV Healthcare is a global specialist HIV company established in November 2009 by GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) dedicated to delivering advances in treatment and care for people living with HIV and for people who are at risk of becoming infected with HIV. Shionogi joined in October 2012. The company’s aim is to take a deeper and broader interest in HIV/AIDS than any company has done before and take a new approach to deliver effective and innovative medicines for HIV treatment and prevention, as well as support communities affected by HIV.

For more information on the company, its management, portfolio, pipeline and commitment, please visit www.viivhealthcare.com.

About GSK
GSK is a science-led global healthcare company with a special purpose: to help people do more, feel better, live longer. For further information please visit www.gsk.com/about-us.

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Cautionary statement regarding forward-looking statements
GSK cautions investors that any forward-looking statements or projections made by GSK, including those made in this announcement, are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Such factors include, but are not limited to, those described under Item 3.D "Risk Factors" in the company's Annual Report on Form 20-F for 2019 and any impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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