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

HIV-1 viruses transmitted at birth are resistant to antibodies in mother's blood

April 19, 2018
Of the genetically diverse population of HIV-1 viruses present in an infected pregnant woman, the few she might transmit to her child during delivery are resistant to attack by antibodies in her blood, according to new research ...

Top HIV cure research team refutes major recent results on how to identify HIV persistence

April 18, 2018
An international team focused on HIV cure research spearheaded by The Wistar Institute in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania and Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) in Barcelona, Spain, established that ...

Scientists discover new way that HIV evades the immune system

April 17, 2018
Scientists have just discovered a new mechanism by which HIV evades the immune system, and which shows precisely how the virus avoids elimination. The new research shows that HIV targets and disables a pathway involving a ...

Team develops new way to fight HIV transmission

April 16, 2018
Scientists at the University of Waterloo have developed a new tool to protect women from HIV infection.

Genetically altered broadly neutralizing antibodies protect monkeys from HIV-like virus

April 16, 2018
Two genetically modified broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) protected rhesus macaques from an HIV-like virus, report scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National ...

How does HIV escape cellular booby traps?

April 5, 2018
HIV is believed to have evolved from a simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV, that originated in chimpanzees. How SIV made the species jump has remained a mystery, since humans possess a defense mechanism that should prevent ...

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.