Pioneering Canadian AIDS researcher and social activist and a friend to India Dr Mark Wainberg, died of drowning in Bal Harbour, Florida, USA, yesterday at age 71. His family was with him when the incident happened and his son tried to rescue him, he was able to locate Dr Wainberg, and began to swim back to shore with him. He was transported to a hospital in Miami, where he was pronounced dead.
Dr Wainberg was a leader in the fight against AIDS and was a major force in HIV Science. He was the head of AIDS research at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research and professor of medicine, microbiology, and immunology at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and director of its AIDS Center at the Montreal Jewish General Hospital.
Dr Wainberg was editor-in-chief of the Journal of the International AIDS Society and editor of Retrovirology, Journal of Human Virology, the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, International Antiviral News, AIDS Patient Care and STDs, and AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses.
Dr Wainberg and his collaborators were the first to identify the antiviral capabilities of the highest used anti-HIV drug 3TC (lamivudine) in 1989. He was also known for multiple contributions to the field of HIV drug resistance, including the identification of many of the mutations in the HIV genome that fuel drug resistance.
Recently, Dr Wainberg has been working to achieve a cure for HIV infection. His attempts were based on the possibility that HIV may not be able to become resistant to integrase inhibitors that block viral replication.
It is unfortunate that the renowned AIDS researchers like former UNAIDS Director Dr Jonathan Mann died in Swiss Air SR11 crash near Nova Scotia on September 02,1998 and former president of International AIDs Society Dr Joep Lange died in Malaysian air MH17 crash on July 17,2014 on the way to an International AIDS Conference scheduled from 18 to 23 July at Melbourne, Australia.
Speaking to My Medical Mantra Dr Ishwar Gilada, President, AIDS Society of India (ASI) who was acquainted with Dr Mark Wainberg said “Dr Wainberg served as president of the International AIDS Society (IAS) from 1998 to 2000; during which time he had visited India first and made an educational trip to the Saheli Project of Peoples Health Organisation (India), (formerly Indian Health Organisation) at Mumbai’s Kamathipura red-ligh area in 1998.
“He was co-chair of the XVI International AIDS Conference in 2006 held in Toronto, and was a past president of the Canadian Association for HIV Research.” Dr Gilada added,
“Dr Wainberg was the main force behind the AIDS Society of India (ASI), a membership association of doctors and researchers in HIV care. During his tenure as president of IAS, ASI was established in the year 2000 as an offshoot of a meeting held in Mumbai.”
“Dr Wainberg had attended five out of nine National Conferences of ASI (ASICONs) and on several occasions visited India for expert forums conducted by ASI and others. ASI is shocked at his untimely death. It is a great and irreparable loss the global AIDs research and India has lost a great friend in his death” attributed Dr I.S. Gilada