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Innovative Assays to Quantify the Latent HIV Reservoir (R21)

Grant Amount: NIAID intends to commit $1.125 million yearly to make 4-6 awards.

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to support research on new or improved methods for quantifying latently infected cells in HIV-positive individuals on effective antiretroviral therapy. Quantifying latent HIV reservoirs is critical to evaluating strategies to cure HIV infection in vivo. The current gold-standard method involves a limiting dilution viral outgrowth assay that is slow, resource-intensive, and relatively imprecise. A molecular assay to accurately detect replication-competent provirus, or a viral outgrowth assay with improved efficiency, would facilitate proof-of-concept studies for curing HIV infection.

The goal of this FOA is to support research on the development of innovative high-throughput approaches for quantifying the very low levels of latently infected cells that persist in HIV-positive individuals on HAART. Ideally, a new assay is needed that specifically quantifies resting CD4 memory T cells that contain integrated, replication-competent provirus. The key challenges to be overcome are (1) the low frequency of these cells (only about 1 in 106 resting cells contains functional provirus), (2) the lack of cell surface markers distinguishing latently infected cells from uninfected cells, and (3) the abundance of defective HIV DNA (only about 1% of HIV DNA in resting CD4 T cells represents replication-competent provirus).

Examples of research that would fit within the scope of this FOA include, but are not limited to the following:

modifications to the current viral outgrowth assay to improve throughput, cost, precision, or accuracy;
technologies to adapt the viral outgrowth assay to a miniaturized, high-throughput platform; the
automation of steps in the viral outgrowth assay protocol; the use of advanced detection technologies to quantify latent HIV; and the development of a molecular assay that could serve as a surrogate for the viral outgrowth assay in quantifying replication-competent latent HIV reservoirs.
Funding Organization
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Division of Intramural Research
Fund Category
Support Types
Eligible Organizations
City Agencies
Commercial Organizations
Community Based Organizations
County Agencies
Educational Organizations/Institutions
Federal Government Agencies
International Agencies
IRS 501 (c)(3) Organizations
Nonprofit Organizations
Religious Organizations
State Agencies
Tribal Organizations
Number of Awards Given
4 - 6 awards
Award Amount Notes
NIAID intends to commit $1.125 million yearly to make 4-6 awards.
Letter of Intent Date
Application Due Date
Project Start Date
Application Contact
Phone: (301) 435-0714
Technical Contact
Karl Salzwedel
Phone: (301) 496-5332
Fund Duration
Up to 2 years.
Antiretroviral Drugs
HIV Positive Persons
Research Programs
Application Process
Applicants can access the SF424 (R&R) application package associated with this funding opportunity using the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this FOA or following the directions provided at

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (, except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.
Web Site
Fund Number

Disclaimer: NPIN provides this information as a public service only. The views and information provided about the materials, funding opportunities, and organizations do not necessarily state or reflect those of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, or NPIN. Fund Record #4736

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