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The Campbell Foundation Provides $75,000 Grant to UGA Researcher Studying the Effectiveness of Hepatitis-B Vaccinations in People Living With AIDS


Ken Rapkin, Executive Director



FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – April 15, 2024 -- People living with HIV are at higher risk of developing Hepatitis-B and therefore it is recommended that they be immunized against the disease. However, they also are less likely to be protected after vaccination.









While treatment with combined antiretroviral therapy (ART) can effectively suppress the replication of both HIV and HBV, morbidity and mortality are significantly higher in those with HIV-HBV coinfection than with HIV alone, resulting in end-stage liver disease, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma.


“Despite the existence of a vaccine, more than 250 million people are chronically infected by HBV. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 10% of those living with HIV in the United States also have HBV,” said Ken Rapkin, executive director of The Campbell Foundation. “This research serves as a good pilot study that has the potential to result in more comprehensive research in the future.”


About The Campbell Foundation


The Campbell Foundation was established in 1995 by the late Richard Campbell Zahn as a private, independent, nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting clinical, laboratory-based research into the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. It focuses its funding on supporting alternative, nontraditional avenues of research. As The Campbell Foundation prepares to celebrate its 29th year, it has given away more than $12 million dollars, with more than $1.5 million going to direct services.

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With the help of a $75,000 grant from The Campbell Foundation, Ankita Garg, Ph.D. and her team at the University of Georgia Department of Infectious Diseases will study why there is lower antibody response in people with HIV (PWH) by looking at immunological and epigenetic (how behavior and environment cause changes in the genes) mechanisms.

“We propose that the T follicular helper (Tfh) cells of those who fail to respond to the HBV vaccine exhibit an epigenetic pattern on their DNA that lowers the B cell antibody production. Since epigenetic changes are reversible, we will further determine if treatment with epigenetic modifiers can enhance B cell antibody production in HBV vaccine non-responders,” said Garg.

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