Deborah Persaud wins award for AIDS research

Dr. Deborah Persaud.
AP Photo/Johns Hopkins Medicine
AP Photo/Johns Hopkins Medicine

The Guyanese community salutes Dr. Deborah Persaud, scientist and clinician who was the sole recipient of the 2013 prestigious Elizabeth Glaser Scientist Award presented to her by the Pediatric AIDS Foundation her breakthrough research in pediatric HIV/AIDS.

Persaud who was born in Guyana, will use the $700,000 prize money to better understand her work in drug-resistant HIV in children in the United States and around the world, according to the Dome Publication.

It was reported that the infectious disease associate professor and her team at John’s Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland made a stunning discovery that a baby that was born with HIV, was cured of the disease. Her findings show that the Mississippi child, now 2 ½ years old has been off of medication for one year and test show that the virus is no longer in her blood.

Dr. Persaud who was hailed as one of the best and brightest AIDS researchers in the field today, led the research that deemed the child “functionally cured,” meaning in long-term remission even if all traces of the virus have not been completely eradicated, said the report.

Specialists say the recent announcement, at a major AIDS meeting in Atlanta, offers promising clues for efforts to eliminate HIV infection in children, especially in AIDS-plagued African countries where too many babies are born with the virus.

“It’s proof of principle that we can cure HIV infection if we can replicate this case.” Said Persaud.

According to reports, the 40-year-old doctor, overcame incredible odds, after her parents divorced when she was 10 years. At the age of 21, she join her mother in Bushwick, Brooklyn and after completing high school and York College, she was accepted to NYU Medical School and Columbia-Presbyterian where she completed her pediatric residency.

Persaud refers to herself as the “American dream.”

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