HIV Expert Gets a Shout-Out from ‘Time’
Date: June 7, 2013
Hopkins HIV expert Deborah Persaud has joined some pretty heady ranks with the announcement in April that Time magazine has named her one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People for 2013.
Time’s annual list, now in its 10th year, honors scientists, writers, politicians, economists, activists, innovators, and artists whose work has inspired, changed, or challenged their fields, according to the magazine. Past honorees include President Barack Obama, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, and satirist Stephen Colbert.
Persaud, a virologist and an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, is being recognized for her research and clinical work in pediatric HIV and AIDS. She was propelled into the spotlight in early March when she and colleagues Hanna Gay (University of Mississippi Medical Center) and Katherine Luzuriaga (University of Massachusetts Medical School) announced the first functional cure of HIV in an infant.
A functional cure occurs when a person is able to keep the virus at clinically undetectable levels over the long term even after stopping treatment. Persaud and her colleagues cautioned that the infant’s unusual case requires further study and that people with HIV should not discontinue treatment. But they also hailed it as a potential game-changer, supporting the notion that very early treatment quashes the formation of the viral hideouts that make the virus impossible to clear.