Research group Huldrych Günthard

Current projects

The research of my group includes 1) investigation of clinical and biological phenomena during acute HIV-1 infection, 2) the study of HIV-1 transmission at the biological as well as at the population level, 3) the study of transmitted as well as acquired resistance, 4) the study of the effectiveness of antiretroviral therapies and their side effects, 5) the study of the latent HIV reservoir, 6) the transmission and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases and co-infections such as hepatitis B and C, 7) virus-host interactions after HIV-1 infection (e.g. E.g., humoral and cellular immune responses).

Four major projects are briefly described below.

Despite great successes in the treatment of HIV infection, neither an efficient vaccine nor a cure for HIV with drugs is within reach. For patients with primary HIV infections, the Zurich Primary HIV Infection (ZPHI) study is investigating new treatment strategies, especially with regard to how far the latent HIV reservoir can be influenced, and is researching the biological basis of the transmission of HIV-1 viruses and other co-infections transmitted simultaneously. Particular emphasis is also placed on clinical presentation during acute HIV infection. This clinical research focus is a multidisciplinary initiative at the intersection of virology, epidemiology, immunology and bioinformatics. The study has been ongoing since 2002 and to date has enrolled > 360 patients with acute or recent HIV-1 infection.

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The Swiss HIV Cohort Study is a long-term, multicenter clinical study that includes people infected with HIV. It conducts research in HIV medicine, basic, and social and preventive sciences. It started in 1988 and includes ~19,000 patients to date. It is crucial for the high quality of HIV medicine in Switzerland and for the better understanding of the interaction between HIV and the human organism. (,

This project aims to help better understand the biology of transmitted HIV-1 viruses. Therefore, viruses from individuals who pass them on to another person will be studied. In addition, we will systematically investigate why and how frequently superinfection can occur. Finally, we will study the transmission of resistant HI viruses and focus especially on non-B subtypes. The study is based on two high quality longitudinal patient studies: the Swiss HIV Cohort Study and the Zurich Primary HIV Infection Study.

HIV-X (Medical Research and Development Projects,

There is still no treatment that can completely eliminate HIV from the body. One reason for this is the ability of the virus to form a latent reservoir. Scientists working on the MRD project HIV-X are now investigating how the HI virus evades treatment and want to develop models that can be used to individually predict how patients will respond to certain therapies. This project is also based on the SHCS and ZPHI studies, and over 1,300 patients are being studied.

Funding of selected research projects

Clinical Research Focus: Viral Infectious Diseases
University of Zurich, Viral Infectious Diseases UZH

Swiss HIV Cohort Study (SHCS)
SNF: (, SHCS Group at the Clinic for Infectiology and Hospital Hygiene

HIV-1 Transmission in Switzerland: viral transmission traits, superinfection and drug resistance

The interplay of host and viral factors in the hurdle to cure HIV-1 (HIV.X)- Systems.X
Systemx.X Projects

Retrospective sequencing of plasma samples in the HIV cohort study
Yvonne Jacob Foundation

Retrospective sequencing of plasma samples as part of the HIV cohort study
Yvonne Jacob Foundation

Defining determinants of broadly neutralizing antibody evolution in viral infection to guide vaccine development
Swiss Vaccine Research Institute (funded by SERI)

Various research grants in the field of HIV-1 resistance and treatment optimization
Gilead Sciences, Janssen R&D, Pfizer



Internal collaborations

  • Prof. Dr. Roger Kouyos
  • Prof. Dr. Karin Metzner

External collaborations Switzerland

  • Prof. Niko Beerenwinkel, ETHZ-BSSE, Basel
  • Dr. Jasmina Bogojeska, IBM Rüschlikon
  • Prof. Sebastian Bonhoeffer, ETHZ, Zurich
  • Prof. Jacques Fellay, EPFL, Lausanne
  • Prof. Volker Roth, University of Basel, Basel
  • Prof. Tanja Stadler, ETHZ, BSSE, Basel
  • Prof. Alexandra Trkola, IMV, UZH, Zurich
  • Swiss HIV Cohort Study

External Collaborations Abroad

  • Prof. Joseph Wong, MD, University of California San Francisco, USA
  • Prof. Christoph Frazer, PhD, Imperial College London, UK