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29 September 2017 VOLUME 18 ISSUE 39

Media Coverage

  • The European Medicines Agency isn't mincing its words about the challenge it faces with the relocation that will be forced on it by Brexit....The agency's bosses are warning the EU's leaders not to put it somewhere where staff simply will not follow....The agency has released details of its most recent staff retention survey...and says the findings raise "serious concerns," because "for certain locations, staff retention rates could be significantly less than 30%."

    September 28, 2017
    Applied Clinical Trials
  • In the 2017 World Happiness Report by Gallup, African countries score poorly. Of the 150 countries on the list, the Central African Republic, Tanzania and Burundi rank as the unhappiest countries in the world. Some of the factors driving unhappiness are the poor state of the continent’s health care systems, persistence of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and growth of lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.

    September 28, 2017
    IPS
  • Women should be offered the choice to avoid treatment with tenofovir and emtricitabine during pregnancy owing to higher risk of stillbirth and early infant death associated with these drugs, according to recommendations in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). However, this runs contrary to guidelines from organisations including the British HIV Association (BHIVA) and WHO....One thing both sets of experts...agree on is that doctors must take time to...fully involve [patients] in treatment decisions [and inform] women...of all potential benefits and harms of treatment options.

    September 27, 2017
    aidsmap
  • The effectiveness of pre-exposure prophylaxis with the antiretroviral drug combination TDF/FTC (Truvada) raises questions regarding the design and conduct of trials of other candidate biomedical HIV prevention interventions....This white paper summarizes recommendations published in scientific literature to date, and highlights results from a survey on the topic targeted to community-based advocates, including individuals who sit on clinical trial advisory bodies.

    September 27, 2017
    Treatment Advocacy Group
  • The future of UNAIDS is being a "global health advocacy and accountability organization" that integrates HIV work with reproductive health and other important health issues, Michel Sidibé said in this second part of his interview with Global Health Now. Achieving this will help the organization transform itself and reduce the fragmentation that's too common in global health, he says.

    September 27, 2017
    Global Health Now
  • PrEPster today expressed frustration and concern that the England PrEP IMPACT Trial has not commenced. Despite NHS England’s commitment to the trial starting in the summer and by the start of September, not one single person has yet to receive PrEP through the trial.

    September 27, 2017
    aidsmap
  • Taken as two 600mg pills, [Isentress] can be used in combination with other antiretrovirals to treat HIV-1 infection in adults and paediatric patients....who are treatment-naïve or whose virus has been virologically suppressed by a twice-daily, 400mg dose of Isentress....Dr Andrew Ustianowski, infectious diseases consultant at the...NHS Trust, said: “Once-daily medications are an important contributor to aiding some individuals in taking their treatment well, and therefore the new once-daily raltegravir formulation is a welcome and important development.”

    September 26, 2017
    PharmaTimes
  • Janssen-Cilag International has received European approval for its once-daily pill Symtuza (darunavir/cobicistat/emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide) to treat patients with HIV-1. It is the only darunavir-based single tablet regimen (STR) indicated for HIV-1 infection in adults and adolescents aged 12 years and older. STRs have the capacity to boost adherence and reduce the medicine burden for the one million or so people in the European Union currently living with HIV.

    September 26, 2017
    PharmaTimes
  • The rate of HIV diagnoses among older men and women in Europe increased over a 12-year period and in 2015 -- the end of the study period -- were significantly more likely to present at a later stage of the disease than younger men and women, Lara Tavoschi and colleagues at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in Sweden wrote online in The Lancet. The report comes just days after the CDC reported a similar pattern among US men who have sex with men.

    September 26, 2017
    MedPage Today
  • Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of "Science Speaks," discusses several recent pieces on global health issues, including a statement from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on U.S. funding for international HIV/AIDS programs, a CBC News article on impacts of the expanded Mexico City policy, and a Devex article on the recent agreement facilitating the availability of a low-cost HIV combination medication in low- and middle-income countries.

    September 26, 2017
    Science Speaks
  • The majority of HIV-positive people in the UK are not receiving recommended monitoring of cardiovascular risk, according to an audit conducted by the British HIV Association (BHIVA) published in BMC Infectious Diseases....There was wide variation between clinics in monitoring rates for some conditions. But the survey also revealed some excellent practice, with monitoring of viral load and adherence to antiretrovirals exceeding national targets.

    September 26, 2017
    aidsmap
  • More than two million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis — the most ever — were reported in the United States in 2016, according to the CDC. The epidemic includes a 36% increase in syphilis infection among women and a 22% increase in gonorrhea among men, the agency said....Chlamydia accounted for the most reported cases, at 1.6 million,...followed by gonorrhea at 470,000 cases, then primary and secondary syphilis — the most infectious stages — at 28,000 cases.

    September 26, 2017
    Healio
  • Around one in six new cases of HIV diagnosed in Europe are in people over age 50....Researchers at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control found steady growth over the past 12 years in rates of new HIV cases in older people, [with] over 50s more likely....to have advanced HIV...and to have contracted it via heterosexual sex. “Our findings suggest a new direction in which the HIV epidemic is evolving,...potentially a result of older people’s low awareness of HIV and how it is transmitted,” said Lara Tavoschi, who led the research.

    September 26, 2017
    Reuters
  • Iafrica.com reports on a decision by South Africa’s Department of Health to roll out PrEP to its university system. An initiative of the Higher Education and Training HIV/AIDS Programme (HEAIDS) is making PrEP available to students for the first time. PrEP will be available in 11 clinics at 7 universities. Up to now, government programs have been aimed at reaching sex workers and men who have sex with men.

    September 26, 2017
    Iafrica.com
  • In the midst of the...meetings of the annual United Nations General Assembly last week, health officials...announced what they called a breakthrough pricing agreement that will speed the availability of “the first affordable, generic, single-pill HIV treatment regimen containing [the key compound] dolutegravir to public sector purchasers in low- and middle-income countries at around $75 per person, per year.” A senior official at Unitaid...explained...how it came about and why this is significant.

    September 25, 2017
    Intellectual Property Watch
  • For those of you who may have been counting on Genocea's GEN-003 to treat or even cure your genital herpes, this is a very bad day. The company just announced that it was discontinuing the development of 003 as a potential vaccine for herpes simplex virus (HSV) and was "exploring strategic alternatives."

    September 25, 2017
    American Council on Science and Health
  • Ethiopia plans to conduct a study on HIV/AIDS prevention and control activities carried out during the past 15 years. According to the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, the study will be conducted on more than 25,000 adults and children in 395 identified areas across the country....It is the first HIV/AIDS study of its kind in the country.

    September 25, 2017
    Xinhua
  • A novel five-year study highlights importance of behaviors such as coffee drinking and not smoking on health and survival of HIV-infected patients, report investigators....In these HIV-HCV co-infected patients, drinking at least three cups of coffee each day halved the risk of all-cause mortality according to a new study published in the Journal of Hepatology. Investigators used data from a five-year follow-up of 1,028 HIV-HCV co-infected patients enrolled in the French national ANRS CO13-HEPAVIH cohort.

    September 25, 2017
    Science Daily
  • Scientists have engineered an antibody that attacks 99% of HIV strains and can prevent infection in primates. It is built to attack three critical parts of the virus, making it harder for HIV to resist its effects. The work is a collaboration between the US National Institutes of Health and pharmaceutical company Sanofi. The International Aids Society said it was an "exciting breakthrough". Human trials will start in 2018.

    September 22, 2017
    Antibody Related Research
    BBC News
  • Makers of generic AIDS drugs will start churning out millions of pills for Africa containing a state-of-the-art medicine widely used in rich countries....[The Gates] Foundation will guarantee minimum sales volumes of the new combination pills using dolutegravir, an integrase inhibitor....In return,...India-based Mylan Laboratories and Aurobindo Pharma will agree [to a] maximum price of about $75 per patient for a year's supply, less than list price for one day's supply of a dolutegravir combination in the United States.

    September 21, 2017
    Thomson Reuters
  • Scientists have designed a synthetic molecule that can reactivate dormant HIV in mice and lead to the death of some of the infected cells, according to a study published in PLOS Pathogens. The new findings address a long-standing challenge in HIV treatment: While antiretroviral therapy can successfully stave off disease progression, the virus can silently persist in some cells for many years, so an infected person must be vigilantly treated for the rest of their life.

    September 21, 2017
    Science Daily
  • When it comes to combating HIV, three virus-killing antibodies should be better than one, scientists at French pharma giant Sanofi have long believed. That’s why they’ve been working with the NIH to develop a “trispecific” antibody—a three-pronged protein that binds to three different sites on the virus to neutralize it. Now they have compelling preclinical evidence that the approach might work, not only to prevent infection,...but to treat patients facing the risk of developing resistance to current treatments.

    September 20, 2017
    Antibody Related Research, Treatment
    FierceBiotech
  • More and more men visiting the red-light district in Kolkata, India, are willing to pay steep fees to be with virgin girls under the mistaken belief doing so can cure or stave off HIV. The myth of so-called “virgin-cleansing” originated in Africa in the 1990s and spread to Southeast Asia....As poverty pushes a wave of migrants into Kolkata,...the misconception has resurfaced, putting young girls at risk of being trafficked and contracting HIV. “We need to stop this now,” says anti-sex-slavery advocate Dipesh Tank.

    September 20, 2017
    News Deeply
  • A two-year programme has been launched to build the capacity of science journalists and improve science coverage in Africa,...funded by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in partnership with the African Federation of Science Journalists and South African Science Journalists Association.

    September 19, 2017
    SciDevNet
  • Because ongoing pain...affects 39 to 85 percent of people living with HIV, everyone with the infection should be assessed for chronic pain, recommend guidelines released by the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and published in Clinical Infectious Diseases....Those who screen positive should be offered a variety of options for managing pain, starting with non-drug treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy, yoga and physical therapy.

    September 14, 2017
    News Medical
  • One of the most common waterborne diseases worldwide is cryptosporidiosis,...a common cause of diarrhea in HIV-positive patients....Kazeem Oare Okosun, Vaal University of Technology in South Africa, and colleagues from Pakistan and Nigeria have developed a new model and numerical simulations to determine the optimal combination of prevention and treatment strategies for controlling both diseases in patients who have been co-infected; [their] results [were] recently published in EPJ Plus.

    September 13, 2017
    News Medical
  • An international team of researchers [in the UK, France, the USA, and the Netherlands] has demonstrated a way of overcoming one of the major stumbling blocks that has prevented the development of a vaccine against HIV: the ability to generate immune cells that stay in circulation long enough to respond to and stop virus infection.

    September 13, 2017
    News Medical

Published Research

  • 5P12-RANTES, a chemokine analogue that potently blocks the HIV CCR5 coreceptor, is being developed as both a vaginal and rectal microbicide for prevention of sexual transmission of HIV. Here, we report the first pharmacokinetic data for 5P12-RANTES following single-dose vaginal gel administration in sheep....[Our] data, coupled with...the full protection that it was observed to provide in a rhesus macaque vaginal challenge model, support continued development of 5P12-RANTES as a microbicide.

    October 1, 2017
    Antimicrobial Agents & Chemotherapy
  • With many new and recurring crises..., the future direction of US global health is unclear. [Thus], the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine was charged with conducting a consensus study....The global community must not forget persistent health priorities the world has been addressing for several decades: HIV–AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria....The committee called for sustained commitment to the PEPFAR and PMI programs, but also for broadening PEPFAR to make it more flexible and to incorporate chronic health conditions.

    September 28, 2017
    New England Journal of Medicine

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