While the global coronavirus pandemic currently has the world’s attention, it doesn’t mean that other deadly diseases have stopped claiming lives. As the world struggles with COVID-19, there are still those who battle already existing diseases like HIV.
In a statement released on their website, the British pharmaceutical company ViiV Healthcare say they will be addressing both HIV and COVID-19 with £3 million put into the Global HIV and COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.
This recently launched fund intends to “make available critical financial resources for research projects to study the medical and scientific impact COVID-19 is having on people living with HIV and community-based grants to help address specific challenges to the HIV community created by the global pandemic.”
Deborah Waterhouse, CEO of ViiV Healthcare, said in the company statement that this is part of the company’s mission to “leave no person living with HIV behind.” Waterhouse also noted that their company’s majority owner, GSK, is one of the many companies that are working to produce a vaccine that can be used against COVID-19.
The fund will certainly be helpful as there is currently not a lot of research on how the coronavirus is impacting the lives of those already living with HIV.
At the moment, what is known is that those infected with HIV do not necessarily have a higher risk of catching it, so long as their viral load is undetectable. However, those with a detectable viral load are more susceptible to catching the coronavirus and it would probably be better for them to practice social distancing, quarantine themselves at home, and avoid face-to-face contact for three months.
Funds such as this one are sorely needed, as it does not look like the COVID-19 pandemic is going to stop anytime soon. According to the World Health Organization update for May 1st there are now over 3,269,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases around the world. Deaths caused by COVID-19 are now at 234,000.
In the United States, the April 28 update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pegs the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at 981,246 people. Fatalities are now at 55,258.