amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

amfAR Fund to Fight COVID-19



Why is amfAR getting involved in coronavirus research?

As leaders in infectious disease research, we have a responsibility to do our part and to utilize the experience and expertise we have acquired over 35 years of funding the most innovative and creative research on HIV/AIDS. Moreover, COVID-19 represents a particularly dangerous threat to older populations and people with compromised immune systems.  A substantial proportion of people diagnosed with HIV in the United States are over the age of 50; and some people with HIV are immunocompromised due to lack of viral suppression, a greater susceptibility to some cancers, or sufficiently damaged immune systems before having an opportunity to begin lifesaving therapies. So in this time of crisis, we are expanding our efforts to include research on the coronavirus and have established the amfAR Fund to Fight COVID-19.

Has amfAR changed its mission?

No, amfAR’s mission remains unchanged—to end the global AIDS epidemic through innovative research. We still have 38 million people worldwide living with HIV and the need for a cure is as urgent as ever. While we continue to pursue a cure for HIV, we will supplement those efforts with research on COVID-19 as long as this deadly new threat persists.

Has amfAR addressed other diseases beyond HIV in the past?

Yes, amfAR has supported research on diseases that represent threats to HIV prevention and the health of people living with HIV.  For instance, in recent years, amfAR has focused on hepatitis C because of the overlapping opioid, hepatitis C and HIV epidemics. The coronavirus pandemic has the opportunity to overlap with the HIV epidemic in terms of susceptibility, mortality, and similar social conditions that contribute to disparities that we witness in HIV.

Shouldn’t amfAR stay focused on AIDS research?

The fact of the matter is, many amfAR-funded scientists are already on the front lines of research on COVID-19. The scale, lethality and suddenness of this new pandemic call for an “all hands on deck” approach to the development of effective treatments and a vaccine for the new coronavirus.  From the highest level of government, we see the White House to state governors relying on the expertise of HIV researchers.

How will the money donated to the new fund be used?

In keeping with its grant-making philosophy, amfAR will identify gaps and unanswered questions in COVID-19 research and allocate funding to researchers who are best equipped to fill those gaps. While the primary goal will be to support efforts to develop effective treatments and a vaccine for the coronavirus, wherever possible we will support research that targets the intersection between HIV and COVID-19.

On July 27, we announced our first research grants from the amfAR Fund to Fight COVID-19. One will support a study of the acute kidney injury that can be a deadly consequence of advanced COVID-19 disease. A second grant was awarded for a study of antibody responses to COVID-19, which could inform the design of vaccines. You can read about the grants here.

Can I still donate to amfAR’s HIV cure research?

Absolutely. All donations to amfAR (you can go to our donation page here) will continue to be used for AIDS research unless they are specifically designated to the amfAR Fund to Fight COVID-19 through this dedicated donation form.

Will the amfAR Fund to Fight COVID-19 be permanent?

No.  It is our belief that by bringing to bear the best scientific expertise the world has to offer, we can develop and test effective treatments and a vaccine against the coronavirus within a relatively short period of time. When the threat of the coronavirus is lifted, we will shutter the fund and continue to dedicate ourselves to our mission of ending the global AIDS epidemic through innovative research.