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27 January 2017 VOLUME 18 ISSUE 4

Media Coverage

  • No new HIV infections have occurred among nearly 1,000 people receiving Truvada for HIV prevention at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, but sexually transmitted infections are climbing, researchers recently reported.

    January 26, 2017
    Bay Area Reporter
  • 1 in 6 people aged 14 to 49 in the United States have genital herpes....Most, however,...wouldn’t know they were carriers without blood tests. But blood tests can be highly unreliable.... In the absence of sure-fire test advances, education and a lessening stigma surrounding herpes might help,...said Dr. Edward Hook, University of Alabama, Birmingham. “There’s no major herpes advocacy group,” he said. “People...with herpes don’t feel they can call attention to it. And that creates a lot of suffering.”

    January 26, 2017
    STAT
  • On 21 January, one day after the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, millions of people took to the streets in protests across the country and around the world....Rejecting mainstream science has become a theme for Trump....Many [had] hoped that the sobering reality of entering the White House would transform Trump’s approach into something more conventionally presidential, but the early signs are not promising.

    January 26, 2017
    Nature
  • Canadian and South African researchers reviewed available evidence on the impact of HAART on behavioural and immune system change to come up with a numerical analysis to explore which might affect the prevalence of the infection the most....[Their] calculations showed that either factor could produce outbreaks of syphilis substantially higher than expected, but that both factors combined produced a peak in the number of infections greater than... either factor alone.

    January 26, 2017
    News Medical
  • Reinstatement and amplification of a Reagan-era anti-abortion rule has some of the world’s largest nongovernmental women’s health care providers considering which of their programs to shutter....Trump’s Jan. 23 memorandum takes [the rule] further...by restricting funding to all organizations that receive global health funding, rather than only family planning providers — potentially including maternal health programs, efforts to fight Zika, and the PEPFAR program.

    January 25, 2017
    Devex
  • The Trump administration is preparing executive orders that would clear the way to drastically reduce the US role in the UN and other international organizations....The first of the two draft orders...calls for terminating funding for any UN agency or other international body that meets any one of several criteria,...[including organizations that...fund abortion,...specifically the United Nations Population Fund, which oversees maternal and reproductive health programs.

    January 25, 2017
    NY Times
  • If 40% of US men who have sex with men (MSM) began pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and 62% had good PrEP adherence, one-third of expected HIV infections would be prevented over the next decade, a modeling study predicts. In this scenario, 25 MSM would have to use PrEP to prevent one infection.

    January 25, 2017
    The BodyPro
  • It's an idea spawned on Reddit, where scientists concerned about the new president's policies on climate change and other issues, and hyped from the success of the Women's March on Washington — were discussing the best way to respond to what they feared would be an administration hostile to science. Then someone wrote, "There needs to be a Scientists' March on Washington."...The march now has a Twitter handle, website, two co-chairs, and Google form through which interested researchers could sign up to help.

    January 25, 2017
    Washington Post
  • The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)...will receive a US$279-million cash injection from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation....[for] expanding the institute’s work over the next decade [in measuring and analysing global health problems]....It will also launch research...to forecast the trajectory of future health patterns, down to the local level, under various scenarios, [and] expand its tracking of how much is spent on what, and where, on health.

    January 25, 2017
    Nature
  • Today, WHO announced who will be up for election to the post of director-general in May. They are: former Ethiopian Health Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, U.K. physician and United Nations official David Nabarro, and Pakistani cardiologist and former science minister Sania Nishtar....The three remaining candidates will each give a press conference on 26 January.

    January 25, 2017
    Science
  • The list of candidates to lead WHO and rebuild its battered reputation... was whittled down to three on Wednesday, with a final choice due in May...."International organisations like WHO have lost lots of luster," Lawrence Gostin, professor, Georgetown University Law School, told Reuters: "WHO was wounded very badly with Ebola and now, even with its new emergencies programme, is under-funded. That is why somebody who has a lot of political stature has to direct it."

    January 25, 2017
    Reuters
  • The Netherlands is launching a global fund to help women access abortion services to compensate for US President Donald Trump's ban on federal funding for foreign groups providing abortions or abortion support for family planning abroad....Dutch officials estimate that Trump's restrictions will cause a funding shortfall of $600 million over the next four years.

    January 25, 2017
    Reuters
  • A San Francisco-based biotech company has acquired vaccine research by Oregon Health & Science University scientists, marking a critical step toward commercialization of a promising HIV vaccine.

    January 25, 2017
    The Oregon Live
  • Researchers from the LGBT Center and UCLA identified several additional factors associated with elevated HIV risk. They include use of methamphetamines and amyl nitrate, domestic violence and race and ethnicity - African-American and Latino gay and bisexual men were also found to be at higher risk.

    January 25, 2017
    KPCC
  • Nominees senators have heard from include...Representative Tom Price, to run the Department of Health and Human Services, NIH's parent agency....Senator Robert Menendez (D–NJ) asked: "Does HIV cause AIDS?" Price: “I think that the scientific evidence is clear that HIV and AIDS are clinically…correlated"....Price praised HHS’s infectious disease specialists, but suggested he wants to craft a new plan to guide them.

    January 25, 2017
    Science
  • Many scientists are asking themselves: What can I do? And the answer from a newly formed group called 314 Action is: Get elected. The organization, named after the first three digits of pi, is a political action committee created to support scientists in running for office.

    January 25, 2017
    Atlantic
  • Is the NIH part of the clampdown by the 5-day-old Trump administration on communications at science agencies? That’s how some are reacting to White House directive telling NIH to halt correspondence with public officials and hold off on new policies....One source close to the NIH suggested the freeze...is standard during a transition, but that the email from NIH Principal Deputy Director was poorly worded, setting off alarms among an already jittery NIH community.

    January 24, 2017
    Science
  • Tim Murphy, author of Christodora, who has been living with HIV since 2001, and Mark Milano, a 35-year survivor of HIV who works as a treatment educator, explain why they took action.

    January 24, 2017
    The Body
  • Campaigners warn Trump’s reinstatement of a policy cutting aid to organisations who offer abortion services will devastate family planning provision....Ending this US aid, which currently stands at $600m (£474m), will result in cuts to funding for sexual and reproductive health services in at least 30 countries....Campaigners say this will have a negative effect on the most vulnerable groups that benefit from family planning advice: teenage girls.

    January 24, 2017
    The Guardian
  • New details of the structure of the human papillomavirus (HPV) may lead to better vaccines and HPV anti-viral medications, according to research led by Penn State College of Medicine researchers....Although HPV is best known as the cause of almost all cervical cancers in women, it is also a major culprit in the alarming increase of throat cancers in men.

    January 23, 2017
    Science Daily
  • Under withering public criticism, the drug industry is doubling down on its arguments that the debate over drug prices is distorted, rolling out a multimillion-dollar ad campaign to repair its reputation and defend the value its medications provide. The industry’s major lobbying group in Washington, DC, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, unveiled the campaign on Monday.

    January 23, 2017
    STAT News
  • It’s a short week for Congress in Washington, with Republicans in both the House and Senate heading out Wednesday for a retreat in Philadelphia, where they will strategize with the new administration about the year’s legislative agenda. Before leaving, though, they’ll wade into abortion politics with legislation in the House — just in time for Friday’s annual March for Life.

    January 23, 2017
    Roll Call
  • U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Deborah Birx and NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins are among the several dozen high-ranking department and agency officials asked to stay in their posts...at least until the appointment of new Cabinet officials. The announcement was welcomed by global HIV research and response advocates, as well as domestic nonprofit patient and research advocacy organizations who had urged the incoming administration not to allow the momentum spurred by the leaders to be interrupted.

    January 23, 2017
    Science Speaks
  • The process of choosing the next director-general of the WHO starts in earnest this week. While the final selection won’t be made until May, the current field of six will shrink to five, then no more than three before the week is out....So let’s explore the three Ps — the people, the process, and the predictions.

    January 23, 2017
    STAT News
  • Doctors in South Africa are launching the world's first HIV vaccine trial in seven years. Medical experts there have labeled the trial landmark because of the scale and complexity of the project (audio at source link).

    January 23, 2017
    NPR
  • Poor countries are allowed to import generic medicines, World Trade Organization Director General Roberto Azevedo told Reuters Monday, after the required two-thirds of members agreed to a deal that has taken more than a decade to finalise. The amendment to the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) agreement gives the world's most vulnerable people access to drugs for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

    January 23, 2017
    Reuters
  • The death rate from cervical cancer in the United States is considerably higher than previously estimated and the disparity in death rates between black women and white women is significantly wider, according to a study published Monday in the journal Cancer....The rate at which black American women are dying from the disease is comparable to that of women in many poor developing nations.

    January 23, 2017
    NY Times
  • After months of painstaking work, Alan Katz and his team were surprised. Their culturing and analyzing bacteria samples...showed that seven patients were carrying strains of gonorrhea with increased resistance to the only treatment regimen....In the 1990s, the CDC largely abandoned MIC testing, which showed whether antibiotic resistance was developing....Jeffrey Klausner of UCLA told MedPage Today that he thinks dismantling of public health clinics [also] contributed to the rise in gonorrhea's drug resistance.

    January 22, 2017
    MedPage Today
  • Nearly half of American men have a genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, [which translates to about 35 million men],...[with] 25 percent infected with “high-risk” types of HPV more strongly linked with cancer. Only about 11 percent of had received the HPV vaccine, according to a study published Jan. 19 in JAMA Oncology....The highest rate of HPV infection was among those ages 58 to 59, [which] contrasts with what’s been seen in women.

    January 19, 2017
    Live Science
  • Aid officials fear the next administration has its sights set on slashing programs designed to empower women and bolster public health, including projects aimed at ending gender-based violence and providing women opportunities in business and in politics....The gender equality and health projects represented a signature initiative of President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, which built on the work of previous administrations.

    January 19, 2017
    Foreign Policy
  • The Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic updated Fact Sheet provides information on current HIV prevalence and incidence, prevention and treatment strategies, and the U.S. and global responses to the epidemic. The PEPFAR Fact Sheet examines PEPFAR and its role in addressing global HIV/AIDS, including treatment and prevention targets, results, and funding.

    January 19, 2017
    Kaiser Family Foundation
  • In a blow to advocates, the US government has abandoned a plan that would have required scientists to obtain the consent of people who donate biological samples before using the material in subsequent studies. The change [was proposed] in 2015 as part of an overhaul of the ‘Common Rule’, regulations that govern clinical trials and patient consent in research. But the provision was not included in the final version of the rule released 18 January.

    January 18, 2017
    Nature
  • Researchers from UCLA and Cardiff University have made a breakthrough in understanding AIDS-related dementia, discovering the role of a neuron protein also found to affect learning abilities in healthy subjects. Professor Kevin Fox who led the work at Cardiff University's School of Biosciences said: "We can now look at ways to suppress [AIDS-related dementia]...and investigate whether its reduction can also benefit other forms of dementia and even aid recovery for stroke victims."

    January 18, 2017
    News Medical
  • A questionnaire from the [Trump] transition team asked whether...PEPFAR had become a “massive, international entitlement program,” and whether it was worth the investment...."It’s hard to assess the intent of those questions, but at face value, they represent a point of view that is skeptical in the least and barely veiled hostility at the most,” says Jack Chow, who worked at the State Department under Colin Powell as an ambassador focusing on HIV.malaria and tuberculosis.

    January 17, 2017
    The Atlantic

Published Research

  • In this article, we describe the current trial registration landscape and summarize evidence of its effect on the clinical research enterprise to date. We then present the results of analyses performed with ClinicalTrials.gov data to provide additional evidence regarding the degree to which current practices are fulfilling certain key goals initially envisioned for trial registration. Finally, we identify challenges and suggest potential responses for the next decade.

    January 26, 2017
    NEJM
  • Genuine progress in understanding human behaviour can only be achieved through a multidisciplinary community effort. Nature Human Behaviour aims to foster that effort. Our first issue, [now available to read for free for the rest of the year], provides a flavour of what we intend the journal to be — the go-to place for leading-edge research, opinion, debate, and news on human behaviour science and its societal impacts.

    January 26, 2017
    Nature Human Behaviour
  • VMMC programs can reduce the HIV incidence rate in males by nearly as much as expected by some ART programs, and additionally, females can benefit from the intervention nearly as much as males.

    January 24, 2017
    PLoS One
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection is frequently found in patients infected with HIV and commonly involves meningeal infection. Such patients can develop potentially lethal complications arising from the excessive cytokine production that can ensue after the initiation of antiretroviral therapy, a scenario known as 'immune-reconstitution inflammatory syndrome' (IRIS).

    January 19, 2017
    Nature
  • In this cross-sectional study of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2013-2014, the overall genital HPV infection prevalence among 1868 men was 45.2%, which appears to be widespread among all age groups, with a low HPV vaccination rate of 10.7%.

    January 19, 2017
    JAMA
  • US Presidents make their mark on health, for better or worse....We propose criteria on which the global health community can judge the success or failure of a Trump presidency, based on a selection of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that apply to health. We assessed these goals to develop a scorecard that can form the basis of a system to monitor and hold accountable global health leaders.

    January 18, 2017
    Lancet
  • Monoclonal antibody 10-1074...is among the most potent anti-HIV-1 neutralizing antibodies isolated so far. Here we report on its safety and activity in 33 individuals who received a single intravenous infusion of the antibody. [Our] results demonstrate the safety and activity of 10-1074 in humans and support the idea that antibodies targeting the V3 glycan supersite might be useful for the treatment and prevention of HIV-1 infection.

    January 16, 2017
    Nature

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