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20 FEBRUARY 2015 VOLUME 16 ISSUE 8

Media Coverage

  • HIV exposed to semen is more likely to take up residence in the host cells and become an active infection. This is something that Nadia Roan at the University of California, San Francisco, has been studying with investigators at the Gladstone Institute and the University of Ulm. She, and the rest of her study team, wanted to determine if semen’s infection-promoting effects on HIV make microbicides less effective when they’re exposed to semen. That’s precisely what they found.
     
    February 19, 2015
    BETA
  • On 17 February 2015 in Nairobi, the President of Kenya, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta,...presided over the launch of the Global All In! Campaign, a partnership aimed at consolidating efforts against HIV/AIDS among adolescents. [He] remarked, "At a time when our nations are looking forward to unprecedented growth and change, we have the blessing of young and able people to drive development. But HIV and AIDS burden on this group threatens to rob us of this promise." 
     
    February 19, 2015
    Huffington Post
  • The HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) has launched two new phase 2 studies, HPTN 076 and HPTN 077, ...among the first studies to test long-acting, injectable antiretroviral drugs in persons without HIV infection. The studies are funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, US National Institutes of Health.
    February 19, 2015
    Medical Net
  • On January 28th, a paper reporting evidence of rapid progression associated with a recently identified HIV-1 recombinant circulating in Cuba (CRF19_cpx) was published online by the journal EBioMedicine....The immediate problem is that the data are very preliminary, and it is way too soon to declare—as fact—that what has been uncovered is “an aggressive form of HIV.” It may or may not be, additional evidence is needed in order to make that determination. 
     
    February 19, 2015
    TAG Basics Science Project
  • In a remarkable new advance against the virus that causes AIDS, scientists from the Jupiter, Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have announced the creation of a novel drug candidate that is so potent and universally effective, it might work as part of an unconventional vaccine. The research, which involved scientists from more than a dozen research institutions, was published February 18 online ahead of print by the journal Nature.
    February 19, 2015
    Science Daily
  • HIV can be kept under control with drugs but not cured, and a vaccine to prevent infection with the virus that causes AIDS has been a decades-long source of frustration. Following are key dates in the quest, following encouraging lab research published on Wednesday.
    February 19, 2015
    New Vision
  • From all the recent attention to parents' rejection (and some politicians' naiveté) of vaccines and a possible resurgence of measles in the United States, one welcome theme has emerged: Such a controversy could never occur if vaccines weren't so powerfully effective in the first place...
    February 19, 2015
    The Body
  • HIV hid deep inside a young Mississippi girl born with the virus who suffered a disappointing relapse last July, after more than two years in which she appeared to have been cured by early, aggressive drug treatment, her doctors report. They now know that the girl's HIV was dormant all that time -- not simply percolating undetected -- because tests have shown that her recurring virus was an exact match to her mother's HIV, said the girl's pediatrician, Dr.
    February 18, 2015
    HealthDay
  • Intensive hunts are under way for natural HIV antibodies that can stop—or “neutralize”—the many variants of the constantly mutating AIDS virus....But viral immunologist Michael Farzan of the Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, Florida, and 33 co-workers have recently taken a different strategy, building a novel molecule [eCD4-Ig] based on our knowledge of how HIV infects cells....Not everyone is convinced that eCD4-Ig will ultimately work better than natural HIV antibodies. 
    February 18, 2015
    Science
  • A new compound has blocked HIV infection so well in monkeys that it may be able to function as a vaccine against AIDS, the scientists who designed it reported Wednesday....The next step will be to test the compound in infected monkeys and see if it can stop the virus from replicating further, which is what antiretroviral medicines do. If that proves safe and effective, [the study's lead author Dr. Michael Farzan] said he hopes to start human trials in three stages.
    February 18, 2015
    New York Times
  • Gilead Sciences may be one of the first drugmakers in history to have people asking why it’s not doing more to pitch its medicine....Thanks to its use in HIV patients, Truvada’s been a financial success...Yet out of 3.3 US million prescriptions from January 2012 to March 2014, only 3,200 were for prevention....There are many reasons....
    February 18, 2015
    Bloomberg
  • Held this year from February 23 to February 26 in Seattle, Washington, CROI will bring together thousands of researchers, clinicians, advocates, and community health providers to share and learn about the latest HIV findings and research....Here’s a sneak peak at what we’ll be looking for at CROI 2015 from the conference agenda.
    February 17, 2015
    BETA
  • The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa will explode again unless parents and teachers start talking to teenagers about sex, experts warned on Tuesday....Leaders also need to make it easier for under 18s to access HIV testing and treatment, ensure all children go to school and protect girls from sexual exploitation, experts said at the launch of a campaign to end adolescent HIV/AIDS....
     
    February 17, 2015
    Reuters
  • In 2006, South Africa’s future president Jacob Zuma said that he showered after sex to avoid HIV. The statement angered health experts and highlighted the country’s struggle to accurately communicate science. Thandi Mgwebi has spent the past 6 years trying to improve this communication [a]s executive director of research chairs and centers of excellence at the South African National Research Foundation (NRF)....Yesterday, she participated in a panel here at the annual meeting of AAAS.
     
    February 15, 2015
    Science
  • As the Ebola epidemic drags on, the World Health Organization is in danger of losing its credibility as a bulwark against infectious disease. The epidemic is a "mega-crisis (that) overwhelmed the capacity of WHO," according to Director-General Margaret Chan.
    February 15, 2015
    MedPage Today
  • The Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre, US military and a number of academic partners are set to launch a set of potentially significant trials in the coming months....The trials, part of a broader research study known as RV254, aim to answer one of the most fundamental and perplexing questions in HIV research today: Can patients achieve long-term remission from HIV? If so, who would fare best and for how long could they remain off medication?
    February 13, 2015
    Wall Street Journal
  • Later this month, the next Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) will be underway in Seattle. While we've already previewed some of the upcoming presentations at CROI 2015, let's take a look back to see why CROI has proven to be a groundbreaking conference in recent years....
    February 13, 2015
    The Body
  • Engaging in unprotected sex with multiple partners increases the risk of contracting multiple strains of HIV....Once inside a host, these strains can recombine into a new variant of the virus. One such recombinant variant observed in patients in Cuba appears to be much more aggressive than other known forms of HIV. Patients progress to AIDS within three years of infection -- so rapidly that they may not even realize they were infected.
    February 12, 2015
    Science Daily
  • Funding for research into reproductive health problems in developing nations is languishing despite the severe and widespread impacts of these issues....Research and development (R&D) spending on reproductive health issues in these countries received just US$88 million in 2013, according to Policy Cures, an Australian non-profit organisation that provides analysis and decision-making tools around neglected diseases....

    February 12, 2015
    SciDevNet

Published Research

  • The 9vHPV vaccine prevented infection and disease related to HPV-31, 33, 45, 52, and 58 in a susceptible population and generated an antibody response to HPV-6, 11, 16, and 18 that was noninferior to that generated by the qHPV vaccine. The 9vHPV vaccine did not prevent infection and disease related to HPV types beyond the nine types covered by the vaccine.
    February 19, 2015
    N Engl J Med
  • We previously reported the remission of HIV-1 in a perinatally infected child — the “Mississippi Child"....The findings in this case and others provide insight on how very early treatment may restrict but not eradicate HIV-1 reservoirs. Additional studies are under way to test this hypothesis and to determine whether ART alone will enable longer-term HIV-1 remission. Until these studies are completed, initiation of ART as early as possible in infants and continuation without interruption seem prudent.
    February 19, 2015
    N Engl J Med
  • A total of 430 MSM/TW [in Central Brazil] were included in the study....The prevalence of syphilis infection and risk sexual behaviour were high in the two samples, especially among TW. High levels of bisexual behaviours and low rates of consistent condom use indicate potential HIV/STIs transmission into the heterosexual population [and indicate] the need and urgency for implementing more effective integrated programmes targeting MSM/TW for the prevention of syphilis and other STIs.
     
    February 19, 2015
    Sex Transm Infect
  • We performed complex survey analyses of data from 6293 men aged 16–74 years resident in Britain who completed Natsal-3, a probability sample survey undertaken during 2010–2012, using computer-assisted personal interviewing and computer-assisted self-interview....Men paying for sex (MPS) in Britain remain at greater risk of STI acquisition and onward transmission than men who do not. They report high numbers of partners, but the minority are paid partners. They are an important core group in STI transmission.
    February 19, 2015
    Sex Transm Infect
  • The death of a 10-year-old child ‘SP’ in 2008, whose HIV infection was diagnosed only hours before death despite both parents being engaged in HIV care, prompted the British HIV Association, the Children’s HIV Association and the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV to organise a multidisciplinary conference titled ‘Don’t forget the children’.
    February 19, 2015
    Sex Transm Infect
  • Here we show that eCD4-Ig, a fusion of CD4-Ig with a small CCR5-mimetic sulfopeptide, binds avidly and cooperatively to the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein (Env) and is more potent than the best broadly neutralizing antibodies [bNAbs]. Because eCD4-Ig binds only conserved regions of Env, it is also much broader than any bNAb....Our data suggest that AAV-delivered eCD4-Ig can function like an effective HIV-1 vaccine.
    February 19, 2015
    Nature
  • The global burden of HSV-2 infection is large, leaving over 400 million people at increased risk of genital ulcer disease, HIV acquisition, and transmission of HSV-2 to partners or neonates. These estimates highlight the critical need for development of vaccines, microbicides, and other new HSV prevention strategies.
    February 18, 2015
    PLoS ONE
  • The main factors that contributed to the successful scale-up in Estoni were: 1) favourable social and political climate, 2) clear demonstrated need for the adolescent services, 3) a national professional organization that advocated, coordinated and represented the youth clinics, 4) enthusiasm and dedication of personnel, 5) acceptance by user organizations and 6) sustainable funding through the national health insurance system.
    February 18, 2015
    Reproductive Health 2015
  • An engineered protein that binds to the envelope of HIV viruses protects monkeys against infection with a simian–human virus that causes AIDS. This gene-therapy approach might provide an alternative to elusive HIV vaccines.
    February 18, 2015
    Nature

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