Canadian 'giant' of HIV research drowns

April 13, 2017

Canadian scientist Mark Wainberg—described as a "giant" of HIV science and who had recently been working on finding a cure for the condition—has died at the age of 71, UNAIDS said on Thursday.

The internationally renowned scientist, who was at the forefront of HIV research from the very beginning of the global AIDS epidemic, drowned on Wednesday while swimming off Bal Harbour in Florida, Radio Canada said.

"UNAIDS is deeply saddened by the tragic death of pioneering HIV researcher Mark Wainberg," the agency dedicated to battling the disease said in a statement.

Wainberg and his colleagues identified one of the main anti-retroviral medicines used to treat HIV infection and also contributed to the understanding of HIV drug resistance.

"Mark Wainberg was a giant in HIV science," UNAIDS chief Michel Sidibe said in a statement, stressing that the researcher's work "contributed to saving millions of lives".

Linda-Gail Bekker, head of the International AIDS Society (IAS), which Wainberg lead from 1998, said the HIV/AIDS research community had "lost one of our fiercest champions".

"He was the epitome of dedication from the earliest days of the response," she said, adding that "the impact of his work... will live on through the millions of people accessing HIV treatment and those of us who were lucky enough to know him".

Wainberg, who served as an informal advisor to UNAIDS, was heading AIDS research at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at the Jewish General Hospital and also of McGill University's AIDS Centre in Canada at the time of his death.

During his time leading IAS, he organised the 13th International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa, and he also co-chaired the same conference in Toronto in 2006.

Explore further: AIDS summit ends with call for more funding (Update)

Related Stories

AIDS summit ends with call for more funding (Update)

July 22, 2016
The International Aids Conference in South Africa wrapped up Friday with calls for increased funding as the search for a cure continues and with HIV infections running at around 2.5 million a year.

Experts urge shift in HIV treatment at global meet in Canada

July 20, 2015
AIDS researchers released a call to action Sunday for a worldwide shift in HIV treatment, to providing medication immediately after diagnosis instead of first watching for signs of illness to appear.

Record number of Africans get AIDS drugs: UNAIDS chief

July 6, 2012
A record number of Africans now have access to drugs to control the HIV virus, but the continent must work harder to strengthen the lifeline, the head of UNAIDS says.

AIDS infections down by a third in S.Africa: UNAIDS

January 17, 2014
New cases of HIV and AIDS fell sharply in South Africa since ten years ago, a testimony to successful treatment, according to a report by the UN Aids body released Friday.

Doubling numbers on HIV drugs could 'break' epidemic: UN (Update)

November 24, 2015
The UN on Tuesday urged countries to "break the AIDS epidemic" by doubling the number of people receiving HIV treatment within the next five years.

Recommended for you

Study suggests a way to stop HIV in its tracks

December 1, 2017
When HIV-1 infects an immune cell, the virus travels to the nucleus so quickly there's not enough time to set off the cell's alarm system.

Discovery puts the brakes on HIV's ability to infect

November 30, 2017
Viewed with a microscope, the virus faintly resembles a pineapple—the universal symbol of welcome. But HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is anything but that. It has claimed the lives of more than 35 million people so far.

Rising levels of HIV drug resistance

November 30, 2017
HIV drug resistance is approaching and exceeding 10% in people living with HIV who are about to initiate or reinitiate first-line antiretroviral therapy, according to the largest meta-analysis to date on HIV drug resistance, ...

Male circumcision and antiviral drugs appear to sharply reduce HIV infection rate

November 29, 2017
A steep drop in the local incidence of new HIV infections accompanied the rollout of a U.S.-funded anti-HIV program in a large East-African population, according to a study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School ...

Combination HIV prevention reduces new infections by 42 percent in Ugandan district

November 29, 2017
A study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine provides real-world evidence that implementing a combination of proven HIV prevention measures across communities can substantially reduce new HIV infections ...

Research on HIV viral load urges updates to WHO therapy guidelines

November 24, 2017
A large cohort study in South Africa has revealed that that low-level viraemia (LLV) in HIV-positive patients who are receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) is an important risk factor for treatment failure.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.