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Two people wearing commencement regalia shaking handsUNC researchers have been awarded the prestigious Charles C. Shepard Science Award in the category of Prevention and Control by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for their paper titled, “Maternal or infant antiretroviral drugs to reduce HIV-1 transmission.” The paper was originally published in the June 17, 2010 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The award was established in 1986 in memory of Dr. Shepard, the internationally renowned microbiologist who served as the chief of the Leprosy and Rickettsia Branch at CDC for more than 30 years. Each year, the award is presented to the authors the most outstanding peer-reviewed research papers published during the preceding year to recognize scientific achievement at CDC.

The award-winning paper presented study findings of the Breastfeeding, Antiretrovirals and Nutrition (BAN) study conducted at UNC Project-Malawi.  The BAN study focused on maternal and child health and mother-to-child transmission of HIV.  The study showed that both giving HIV positive mothers antiretroviral drug treatment during breastfeeding and giving babies of HIV positive mothers an HIV-fighting syrup are effective in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.  The Charles C. Shepard Award acknowledges the importance of the BAN study in the global fight against AIDS.

This award has special meaning for the article’s lead author, Charles Chasela, PhD, a researcher at UNC Project-Malawi, and Charles van der Horst, MD, professor of medicine at the UNC School of Medicine and principal investigator on the study. Dr. van der Horst served as one of Chasela’s mentors while Chasela earned his doctorate at University College Dublin and has watched him develop as a scientist. This recognition is a shared honor for mentor and mentee.

Funding for the BAN study was awarded to the UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention from the CDC Prevention Research Center program.


Reprinted with permission from the Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases.

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