In Memory of Mark Wainberg: Aldatu Advisor and HIV Pioneer

It is with deep sadness that we pass along news of the sudden death of our friend, mentor, and Scientific Advisory Board member, Prof. Mark Wainberg. Mark was one of the earliest supporters of Aldatu and our efforts to bring PANDAA to patients, and for that he will always have our gratitude. His passing represents a tremendous loss for not only our company, but the entire HIV community. Our hearts and thoughts are with his family and colleagues today.

As a world-renowned HIV/AIDS researcher specializing in HIV drug resistance, Mark made innumerable contributions to the field that spanned over three decades. His work has been instrumental in helping to identify many of the mutations in the HIV genome responsible for drug resistance.

A true international leader, Prof. Wainberg became an outspoken advocate for human rights, from denouncing the criminalization of HIV-AIDS, to demanding that affordable treatment should be made equally available to all. He is an indelible fixture in the history and progress of HIV research whose work has touched countless lives, and he will be sorely missed.

Mark was President of the International AIDS Society from 1998 to 2000. He is credited with the discovery of 3TC, one of the earliest antiretroviral drugs for HIV treatment. Mark established the McGill AIDS Centre in 1984 at the Jewish General Hospital, and was Professor of Medicine, and of Microbiology and Immunology at McGill University. Other distinctions included the Order of Canada and the Legion d’honneur, the highest honors for civilians given by Canada and France, respectively.

In 2015, Prof. Wainberg was named to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame for his contributions to medicine and “for having made the world a better place.”

(BOSTON, MA) —Aldatu Biosciences, a biotechnology company developing gold standard molecular diagnostic assays and based real-time PCR, today announced it has been awarded a $3 Million Direct-to-Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The award will fund the continued advancement of the company’s proprietary PANDAA™ technology platform and its specific application to the first universal, pan-filovirus detection and differentiation of Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus, the causative agents of Ebola Virus Disease and Marburg Virus Disease.

There is an urgent global unmet market need for a standardized, commercially available pan-species filovirus test that is accessible to resource-limited settings, especially considering the growing reach of the filovirus family as evidenced by the first-ever outbreak in Tanzania that was reported on March 21, 2023.  With a case fatality rate of 88%, Marburg is one of the deadliest of the hemorrhagic fevers. The WHO reported that the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa generated more than 28,000 cases and more than 11,000 deaths in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and the CDC reported that more than $3.6 billion was spent to fight the epidemic.

Challenges associated with filovirus biology have previously limited the performance of qPCR in filovirus diagnostics. Many filovirus tests are lab-developed tests and are not available for broad commercial use.  Also, current RT-PCR LDTs are only able to detect regionally endemic clades.