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22 September 2017 VOLUME 18 ISSUE 38

Media Coverage

  • I am a 30-something African-American gay man in New York. H.I.V. is constantly on my mind. Not so much my H.I.V.-negative status. Rather, even though I watched my parents die of AIDS when I was young, I still struggle with whether I should take the drug Truvada, a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) that can protect almost completely against H.I.V.

    September 21, 2017
    New York Times
  • In the epidemic, the word "risk" is associated with the notion of "doing something wrong." So using the words "at risk" becomes risky in itself. It runs the risk of turning people off, and away from prevention messages. People may not avail themselves of condoms or PrEP (the HIV prevention pill) if they don't identify with risk. If they don't identify with HIV risk, they don't identify with HIV prevention.

    September 20, 2017
    BodyPRO
  • Two studies, one in Science and the other in Science Translational Medicine, suggest that combinations of antibodies will be more effective than single molecules -- a parallel with the triple-drug paradigm now standard in HIV treatment. Also, using a single antibody has the potential of selecting for resistant virus, again paralleling one of the dangers of undertreating HIV.

    September 20, 2017
    Antibody Related Research
    MedPage Today
  • PEPFAR will continue to operate programs in more than 50 countries. To maximize its impact, however, it will focus much of its efforts on 13 countries that are nearing epidemic control....Those include Kenya, Zambia, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Lesotho, Ivory Coast, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Haiti and Rwanda....The work would be done in collaboration with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNAIDS, and others.

    September 19, 2017
    Reuters
  • Until recently, funding H.I.V. medicines worldwide looked like a noble, necessary — and never-ending — project. Now we know that treatment is prevention. Do it wide and well enough, and AIDS could be defeated.

    September 19, 2017
    New York Times
  • Alex Smith launched the site Davie Buyers Club back in 2016 anonymously—and for good reason. Smith's site offers up-to-date information for gay and bisexual Canadian men on how to import generic FDA-approved pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, from foreign pharmacies in Asia via the United States.

    September 19, 2017
    VICE
  • "[This study] tells us that PrEP is safe and should be made available to adolescent men who have sex with men who are vulnerable to HIV infection," Sybil Hosek …."It also tells us that to maximize effectiveness, additional support around adherence needs to be offered to patients." That additional support could include more frequent clinic visits, check-ins outside the clinic via text message and other methods, and talking to young men about sexual risk.

    September 19, 2017
    BodyPRO
  • Providing some clarification to proposals to shift the focus of PEPFAR to a limited number of countries, the State Department today released a “Strategy for Accelerating HIV/AIDS Epidemic Control (2017-2020)” in advance of the United Nations General Assembly meeting….Big on photos and short on details, however, its 10 colorful inside pages give broad, brief and differing descriptions of the means through which the goals it describes will be reached.

    September 19, 2017
    Science Speaks
  • Researchers are at odds over when to dub a discovery 'significant'. In July, 72 researchers took aim at the P value, calling for a lower threshold for the popular but much-maligned statistic. In a response published on 18 September, a group of 88 researchers have responded, saying that a better solution would be to make academics justify their use of specific P values, rather than adopt another arbitrary threshold.

    September 19, 2017
    Nature
  • On September 14th, Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state, presented the outline of a reform plan for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to the Office of Management and Budget. … But fixing the organization chart only responds to a symptom of America’s aid problem. The underlying malaise is an outdated and increasingly baroque legal and regulatory framework…”.

    September 18, 2017
    The Economist
  • HIV can hide in immune cells called CD4 T cells, creating reservoirs that allow the virus to survive and replicate. Researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre say they’ve discovered a way to block this replication in the stomach….The key is inhibiting a naturally occurring molecule called mTOR—a mechanism that’s already being used to treat diabetes and some cancers.

    September 18, 2017
    Fierce Biotech
  • The San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH) has released its HIV Epidemiology Annual Report for 2016, showing that the number of new infections continues to decline, with decreases seen across demographic groups. Homeless people, however, have higher rates of infection and poorer treatment outcomes.

    September 18, 2017
    aidsmap
  • Along with the dramatic drop in the number of new cases of Zika in recent months, does this signal that the threat has now passed, or does it mean we are now no closer to a vaccine should a resurgence of the disease eventually occur?

    September 18, 2017
    STAT
  • Oxford, U.K.-based Immunocore’s infectious disease work has...[prompted] the...Gates Foundation to invest up to $40 million...to advance programs against tuberculosis and HIV. Both programs are in preclinical stages, but Immunocore has generated data to support the idea of using TCR-based therapeutics to treat infectious diseases. Last year, Immunocore released in vitro data showing its molecules turn the immune system against HIV-infected CD4+ T-cells, suggesting they may be able to wipe out reactivated HIV reservoir cells.

    September 18, 2017
    Fierce Biotech
  • Bill and Melinda Gates handed the world a report card last week, assessing its progress on 18 global health indicators: infant mortality, AIDS, vaccine use, smoking rates and so on. Called “Goalkeepers,” the report was a huge statistical effort, three years in the making, aimed squarely at the world leaders gathering at the United Nations General Assembly this month.

    September 18, 2017
    New York Times
  • People with HIV who smoke cigarettes are 10 times more likely to die from lung cancer than from HIV, a study has found. Those diagnosed with HIV are living longer because of the increasingly effective antiviral medications that have been developed in the last 10 years. But prevention from lung cancer has not developed at a similar rate.

    September 18, 2017
    Daily Mail
  • Powerful antibodies against HIV bind to a key site on the deadly virus, helping the immune system “learn” how to neutralize it, a team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute report. The discovery may help guide development of a vaccine.

    September 18, 2017
    Antibody Related Research, HIV Vaccine
    San Diego Union-Tribune
  • UN leaders say that global health will likely receive significant attention.…"Without health, there is nothing," says Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the WHO .…”At the UNGA, I think people are starting to realize that health is central. It's very important to fight poverty, very important for economic growth, very important for employment, very important for equity, very important to prevent epidemics."

    September 18, 2017
    TIME
  • Bill and Melinda Gates continue to raise the bar for generosity with investments in health programs saving millions of lives… Earlier this month, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation presented a $120 million grant to PATH, one of the first innovators to set up shop in a shiny, new South Lake Union building. The nonprofit develops drugs, medical devices and health systems.

    September 18, 2017
    Seattle Times
  • The reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy will lead to unintended pregnancies, maternal deaths and even more poverty, says one of the world's largest family planning organizations. With the policy cutting off part of its funding, Marie Stopes International says this month it is closing or scaling back projects that provide free or inexpensive contraception for women in Madagascar and Zimbabwe.

    September 16, 2017
    CBC

Published Research

  • Use of the dapivirine ring does not reduce the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives for pregnancy prevention. Oral contraceptive pill use was associated with high pregnancy incidence, potentially because of poor pill adherence. Injectable and implantable methods were highly effective in preventing pregnancy.

    October 1, 2017
    JAIDS
  • The development of an effective AIDS vaccine has been challenging due to viral genetic diversity and the difficulty in generating broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs). ... Trispecific Abs exhibited higher potency and breadth than any previously described single bnAb, showed pharmacokinetics similar to human bnAbs, and conferred complete immunity against a mixture of SHIVs in non-human primates (NHP) in contrast to single bnAbs.

    September 20, 2017
    Antibody Related Research
    Science
  • Monoclonal antibodies are being tested as therapy for many infections, including HIV. However, increasing evidence suggests that therapy with a single agent may encourage resistant viral strains to emerge. Julg et al. tested how potent HIV neutralizing antibodies could combat challenge with a mix of SHIV strains in nonhuman primates. They found that monotherapy with anti-V3 PGT121 or anti-V2 PGDM1400 allowed for selection of resistant viruses and subsequent replication in the animals.

    September 20, 2017
    Antibody Related Research
    Science Translational Medicine
  • Using diverse engineering tools, we investigated the involvement of glycan recognition in the development of the CAP256.VRC26 Ab lineage. We found that sialic acid-bearing glycans were recognized by germline-encoded and somatically mutated residues on the Ab heavy chain. This recognition provided an “anchor” for the Abs as the core protein epitope varies, prevented complete neutralization escape, and eventually led to broadening of the response.

    September 19, 2017
    Antibody Related Research
    Immunity
  • Researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre have discovered a way to slow viral replication in the gastrointestinal tract of people infected by HIV-AIDS. This advance, published in JCI Insight, might well lead to the development of a new therapeutic strategy to supplement antiretroviral therapy, improving control of viral replication in HIV-infected persons and preventing complications associated with chronic infection.

    September 18, 2017
    Science Daily
  • To our knowledge, this is the first detailed case report suggesting wild-type HIV-1 infection despite good adherence, evidenced by repeatedly high concentrations of tenofovir diphosphate in dried blood spots. PrEP providers need to be aware that infection can occur despite good adherence.

    September 14, 2017
    Lancet HIV
  • A series of titration studies were carried out in bone marrow/liver/thymus (BLT) mice aimed at determining the adequate drug concentrations applied vaginally or rectally that offer protection against rectal or vaginal HIV challenge. The dose-response relationship of these agents was measured and showed that topical tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) and emtricitabine (FTC) can offer 100% protection against rectal or vaginal HIV challenges.

    September 7, 2017
    PLoS ONE

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