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Bridging the Evolution and Epidemiology of HIV in Europe

Objective

The aim of the BEEHIVE project is to generate novel insight into HIV biology, evolution and epidemiology, leveraging next-generation high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics to produce and analyse whole-genomes of viruses from approximately 3,000 European HIV-1 infected patients. These patients have known dates of infection spread over the last 25 years, good clinical follow up, and a wide range of clinical prognostic indicators and outcomes. The primary objective is to discover the viral genetic determinants of severity of infection and set-point viral load. This primary objective is high-risk & blue-skies: there is ample indirect evidence of polymorphisms that alter virulence, but they have never been identified, and it is not known how easy they are to discover. However, the project is also high-reward: it could lead to a substantial shift in the understanding of HIV disease.

Technologically, the BEEHIVE project will deliver new approaches for undertaking whole genome association studies on RNA viruses, including delivering an innovative high-throughput bioinformatics pipeline for handling genetically diverse viral quasi-species data (with viral diversity both within and between infected patients).

The project also includes secondary and tertiary objectives that address critical open questions in HIV epidemiology and evolution. The secondary objective is to use viral genetic sequences allied to mathematical epidemic models to better understand the resurgent European epidemic amongst high-risk groups, especially men who have sex with men. The aim will not just be to establish who is at risk of infection, which is known from conventional epidemiological approaches, but also to characterise the risk factors for onwards transmission of the virus. Tertiary objectives involve understanding the relationship between the genetic diversity within viral samples, indicative of on-going evolution or dual infections, to clinical outcomes.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/microbiology/virology
  • /medical and health sciences/health sciences/infectious disease/RNA virus/hiv
  • /medical and health sciences/health sciences/epidemiology

Call for proposal

ERC-2013-ADG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-AG - ERC Advanced Grant

Host institution

THE CHANCELLOR, MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
Address
Wellington Square University Offices
OX1 2JD Oxford
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 923 498,03
Principal investigator
Christopher Fraser (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Gill Wells (Ms.)

Beneficiaries (4)

THE CHANCELLOR, MASTERS AND SCHOLARS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 923 498,03
Address
Wellington Square University Offices
OX1 2JD Oxford
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Christopher Fraser (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Gill Wells (Ms.)
ACADEMISCH MEDISCH CENTRUM BIJ DE UNIVERSITEIT VAN AMSTERDAM
Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 893 109,26
Address
Meibergdreef 15
1105AZ Amsterdam
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Gulseren Yalvac (Ms.)
GENOME RESEARCH LIMITED
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 218 373,26
Address
The Gibbs Building, Euston Road 215
NW1 2BE London
Activity type
Research Organisations
Administrative Contact
David Davison (Mr.)
IMPERIAL COLLEGE OF SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY AND MEDICINE
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 464 758,80
Address
South Kensington Campus Exhibition Road
SW7 2AZ London
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Scott Wheatley (Mr.)