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30 October 2015 VOLUME 16 ISSUE 44

Media Coverage

  • A successful HIV vaccine will have to induce several broadly neutralising antibodies to mimic some patients’ immune response to HIV infection, according to the Duke Human Vaccine Institute....Lead researcher Tony Moody told the BioProcess International conference keynote audience [that] the enormous genetic diversity of HIV pathogens requires a completely novel approach....Creating a new vaccine every season or for different regions is unfeasible: “We make a new vaccine every year for flu because of the virus’s diversity. The differences in HIV strains are orders of magnitude greater.”

    October 30, 2015
    BioPharma
  • During ID Week 2015 in San Diego, I caught up with Jeanne Marrazzo, a lead investigator on VOICE, and an infectious disease specialist and HIV/STI researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle...for a webcast featuring slides and commentary from Marrazzo's engaging presentation on microbicides....Read on for her thoughts about how failure can create opportunity, why we still urgently need a topical HIV prevention method that works, and how microbicides could benefit from an image makeover.

    October 29, 2015
    TheBodyPro.com
  • Leaders in the US Congress and President Barack Obama have agreed on a deal that could avoid a December showdown over government funding — and a possible shutdown....The deal would raise caps on defence and non-defence spending by US$25 billion each for fiscal year 2016, which began on 1 October.... But it is not yet clear how the extra $25 billion would be split among all discretionary programmes, including those that fund scientific research and development....With increased budget caps, the US NIH could stand to win big.

    October 29, 2015
    Nature
  • A new report from the WHO, published in PLOS ONE, reports that 3.7 billion people under age 50 carry the herpes type 1 (HSV-1) virus, which is is primarily transmitted through mouth-to-mouth contact and usually manifests as cold sores....Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is nearly always transmitted through skin-to-skin contact and commonly causes genital herpes....The new estimates show that HSV-1 also is a notable cause of genital herpes when transmitted through oral sex.

    October 29, 2015
    Huffington Post
  • Researchers conducted an analysis of bone density changes among 18-to-22-year-old gay male participants in the ATN open-label demonstration project of PrEP. Findings were presented at the 15th European AIDS Conference and the 17th International Workshop on Comorbidities and Adverse Reactions in HIV.

    October 29, 2015
    aidsmeds
  • WHO issued an early release of the organization’s 2016 guidelines, recommending that all patients with HIV should immediately initiate ART regardless of their CD4 cell counts and that all patients at high risk for HIV should receive daily pre-exposure prophylaxis....The feasibility, acceptability, cost-effectiveness and impact of treatment will be explored in the SEARCH and MaxART studies; results are not expected before 2017 or 2018.

    October 29, 2015
    Infectious Disease News
  • Decriminalising sex among consenting young people is a move in the right direction for South Africa, according to Professor Deevia Bhana. She said teenage sexuality is often considered dangerous, undesired and stigmatised, creating panic and moral condemnation. "This...leads to an underground sexual culture where teenagers hide, are discreet, and often deny sexual interests and activities," said Bhana who presented her study “Sex, gender and money in African teenage conceptions of love in the HIV context" at UKZN’s Public Health Department Wednesday.

    October 28, 2015
    Times Live
  • Tuberculosis surpassed HIV as the leading cause of death from infectious disease in the world in 2014, according to a WHO report released Wednesday. But it's not because more people are getting infected. Global health officials said on Wednesday that they are able to better track cases to report more accurate numbers....WHO estimates overall totals could be even higher, with nearly 40 percent of cases undiagnosed worldwide.

    October 28, 2015
    US News & World Report
  • Research presented at the 15th European AIDS Conference last week shows improved safety for a combination containing a new formulation of tenofovir, recently granted scientific approval for marketing in the European Union. Gilead Sciences’ tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) is a new pro-drug formulation that delivers the active agent to HIV-infected cells more efficiently than the current tenofovir disoproxil formulation)....Based on favourable study findings to date, Gilead has requested US and European regulatory approval of the elvitegravir/cobicistat/emtricitabine/TAF single-tablet regimen, which will be marketed as Genvoya.

    October 28, 2015
    aidsmap
  • Ten years after acquiring HIV, a person living with HIV has approximately twice the risk of heart attack compared to someone who has just acquired HIV, regardless of the age at which they seroconvert, and after taking into account the effects of ageing, an analysis of 18,468 people living with HIV has shown. The study was carried out by the CASCADE collaboration in EuroCoord, and looked at eight cohorts in Europe and North America. The findings were presented at the 15th European AIDS Conference in Barcelona last week.

    October 28, 2015
    aidsmap
  • GlaxoSmithKline surpassed Wall Street's earnings estimates in Q3, with lower spending in vaccines and consumer health largely driving the beat. But that's not to say it didn't turn in a couple of standout sales performances. In particular, its HIV drugs unit--ViiV Healthcare--shot up by 67% year-over-year, with Tivicay delivering sales that expanded by 101%.

    October 28, 2015
    Fierce Pharma
  • "Nutrition plays a critical role in HIV treatment adherence, wellness and health outcomes of people living with this condition. It boosts the immune system and is a safeguard against opportunistic infections," said Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health Khadijah Kassachoon. The Ministry of Health and partners have developed nutrition guidelines to boost HIV/AIDS management in the country.

    October 27, 2015
    Xinhua
  • While the Truvada study is encouraging about a future free of HIV, it highlights the need for more safe sex education regarding other STIs. Justin Lehmiller, a social psychologist at Ball State University and author of the blog Sex and Psychology,said he becomes concerned when people seem nonchalant about sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV.

    October 27, 2015
    ForMen.com
  • Zimbabwe...officials are pushing the newly-introduced ring method that makes the procedure easier....In 2009, the government set the target to have 1.3 million men circumcised by 2017 to slow the spread of HIV. Zimbabwe was falling short of this target with the surgical method, according to Malvern Nyamana – the chief medical officer in Shurugwi rural district. He says the ring method, introduced this year, has made a big difference.

    October 27, 2015
    Voice of America
  • Malaysia's 10-year-old harm reduction programme...has helped curb a disturbing rise in HIV infections among injecting drug users....Yet,... global funding for such initiatives...is under threat as donor priorities shift...."All of this is occurring in a broader global context where what we call HIV fatigue is happening at the international donor level," Rick Lines, executive director at Harm Reduction International, told Al Jazeera.

    October 27, 2015
    Al Jazeera
  • The new European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS) HIV clinical guidelines, released last week at the 15th European AIDS Conference, bring Europe into line with the rest of the world by recommending HIV treatment upon diagnosis for all patients. This is the first time since 2006 that all internationally-written guidelines have agreed on their ‘when to start’ recommendations....The guidelines show much less harmony when it comes to what to start with, however.

    October 26, 2015
    aidsmap
  • Despite a 1993 mandate that women and people of color be represented in all [NIH-funded] clinical trials,...[a] new GAO report...reveals a critical dearth of data on how the NIH is meeting its targets for gender balance in test subjects and analysis of results....The NIH does not provide demographic data any more specific than aggregate sex breakdowns of enrollees at each center it funds, [so that] it’s impossible...to determine whether women are sufficiently represented in individual trials or research on specific diseases.

    October 26, 2015
    Slate
  • Is the war on drugs crippling the war on AIDS? And might the AIDS epidemic make governments more willing to treat drug abusers as suffering patients rather than as hardened criminals? Those questions came to the fore last week because of a fumbled news story...that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime...was about to advocate ending penalties for personal use of all drugs. The schisms revealed by the news...showed how the debate is shifting, in part because of HIV.

    October 26, 2015
    NY Times
  • The CHMP has adopted a positive opinion recommending a change to the terms of the marketing authorisation for Janssen’s Edurant (rilpivirine) in the EU to extend the indication to adolescent patients aged 12 to <18 years with human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) infection....If approved by the European Commission, Edurant will become available for the treatment of adolescents with HIV-1 for the first time. It is estimated that one in seven of all new HIV infections occur in adolescence and young adulthood.

    October 26, 2015
    European Pharmaceutical Review
  • ViiV Healthcare today awarded its first round of small grants to support men who have sex with men and transgender community-led interventions to reduce stigma and discrimination....23 non-governmental and community-based organisations will receive up to £25,000 per year over a two year period through the Positive Action for MSM and Transgender programme. Grantees...were selected from 237 applications received from 79 countries.

    October 26, 2015
    CNW
  • Russia's HIV epidemic could spiral out of control by the end of the decade if treatment for the life-threatening virus is not expanded, the nation's health minister warned Friday, the TASS news agency reported. Proclaimed government support in Russia for controlling HIV's spread and treating those infected is notoriously ineffective. Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova [warned that], without funding increases “by 2020 the number of patients in the HIV-AIDS epidemic could increase by 250 percent.”

    October 25, 2015
    Moscow Times
  • Preexposure prophylaxis (PreP) for HIV was endorsed for high-risk populations in new guidelines issued Thursday by the European AIDS Clinical Society, but there are significant barriers to widespread use, experts said here at the 15th European AIDS Conference.

    October 25, 2015
    Medscape
  • In a rare case of Silicon Valley scandal,...31-year-old Elizabeth Holmes, chief executive of biotech start-up Theranos, fell from her pedestal. The $US9 billion start-up she founded claims it can perform a range of blood tests to diagnose conditions such as high cholesterol, HIV and diabetes — using just a few drops of blood....The hype allowed Ms Holmes to raise $US400 million....Last week, The Wall Street Journal conducted an investigation that claimed Theranos’ blood-testing system didn’t really work as advertised.

    October 25, 2015
    West Australian
  • Beny J. Primm, a doctor who started some of New York City’s first methadone clinics to treat heroin addicts in the 1960s and who, during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, became a nationally prominent advocate for changing public health policy toward intravenous drug users, died on Oct. 16 in New Rochelle, NY. He was 87....He wrote in his 2014 memoir, The Healer: A Doctor’s Crusade Against Addiction and AIDS,...“I knew that behind this devastation was the scourge of drugs, and I made a promise to myself that I would work to stop these black kids from going down.”

    October 24, 2015
    NY Times
  • Cambodia’s efforts in HIV prevention and treatment have shown significant results in the past ten years....Thanks to heavy government investment and international aid, Cambodians now have free access to HIV tests, antiretroviral drugs and counselling. As a result, new HIV infections have dropped from 3,500 in 2005 to 1,300 in 2013. The fight against HIV is gaining momentum, with NGOs such as Friends-International and Mith Samlanh carrying out harm reduction activities among marginalised communities such as slum dwellers and sex workers.

    October 23, 2015
    SciDev.net
  • The guideline recommends initiation of ART in adults living with HIV, regardless of CD4 cell count, and offer of PrEP as a prevention option to all people at increased risk of acquiring HIV. Considering that the most at risk populations account for more than 100,000 (more than a third of all) new HIV infection in Kenya, this is indeed good news.

    October 23, 2015
    Daily News
  • Recent research has yielded new information about immune responses associated with -- and potentially responsible for -- protection from HIV infection, providing leads for new strategies to develop an HIV vaccine. Results from the RV144 trial, reported in 2009, provided the first signal of HIV vaccine efficacy: a 31 percent reduction in HIV infection among vaccinees....A new review outlines findings that hint at the types of immune responses a preventive HIV vaccine may need to induce.

    October 21, 2015
    Science Daily
  • In The Lancet, Louis Niessen and Jahangir Khan argue that strategies to make medicines more available and affordable are critical in increasing their use in low- and middle- income countries. There is a double burden of infectious and chronic diseases, while awareness of the benefits of prevention and treatment has grown....Their comment [follows] publication of the PURE study [which] shows that secondary prevention is unavailable and unaffordable in the surveyed 94,919 communities across the world.

    October 21, 2015
    Science Daily
  • The EACS Treatment Guidelines have been updated. Version 8.0 - October 2015 is now available online and includes major revisions to almost all sections. Most notably, the antiretroviral treatment recommendation of when to start ART has changed based on the results of the START study, and the co-infections section has been updated to reflect the major advances in anti-HCV treatment with direct acting antivirals and the phasing out of interferon-containing treatment.

    October 20, 2015
    European AIDS Clinical Society
  • Social media are acknowledged more and more as tools to communicate science and influence policies.... Twitter, for instance, has proved itself highly effective in disseminating the main ideas and results presented at a conference to both attendees and those who could not attend....Such rapid communication has the potential to make science more inclusive, fostering collaboration and results. However, there is a new and controversial trend to limit the free use of social media in scientific conferences.

    October 9, 2015
    Science

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