Research Community Mourns Loss of HIV/AIDS Pioneer

Mark Wainberg, PhD was an influential researcher from the start of the AIDS epidemic.

Yesterday, the research community tragically lost HIV/AIDS pioneer and social activist Mark Wainberg, PhD.

While with his family Bal Harbour, FL, Dr Wainberg, 71, reportedly drowned. According to Bal Harbour Acting Police Chief Miguel De La Rose, Dr. Wainberg’s son swam out to try to rescue him.

With the help of other beachgoers, they managed to pull Dr Wainberg’s body from the water. He was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead .

Dr Wainberg was an internationally renowned scientist and a leading researcher from the start of the AIDS epidemic, according to UNAIDS. In a collaboration with BioChem Pharma Inc, Dr Wainberg was the first researcher to identify the antiviral capabilities of 3TC (lamivudine), according to a press release.

Additionally, he contributed to the field of HIV drug resistance, including the identification of many of the mutations in the HIV genome that drive drug resistance. In more recent years, he was working towards an HIV cure.

“Mark Wainberg was a giant in HIV science,” Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS, said in a press release. “His work contributed to saving millions of lives.”

Dr Wainberg served as head of AIDS research at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at the Jewish General Hospital, as well as director of the McGill University AIDS Centre, Canada.

From 1998 to 2000, he served as the president of the International AIDS Society.

“To those of us in the research community, he was the epitome of dedication from the earliest days of the response,” Linda-Gail Bekker, MBChB, PhD, president of the International AIDS Society (IAS), said in a press release. “The impact of his work both through and beyond his role with the IAS will live on through the millions of people accessing HIV treatment and those of us who were lucky enough to know him.”