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7 April 2017 VOLUME 18 ISSUE 14

Media Coverage

  • After successfully shepherding a Zika vaccine candidate into the clinic before any other developer, Inovio Pharmaceuticals is amping up its efforts in HIV. The company locked down $7 million in government funding to test its vaccine cocktail alone or in a combo with checkpoint inhibitors known for their ability to fight cancer.

    April 6, 2017
    EN/CPHI
  • Researchers at the University of North Carolina have been awarded a 3-year, $1.8 million grant by the NIH for development of an implantable drug delivery system for HIV/AIDS. “[Our] goal is to develop an injectable polymer-based delivery system for long-acting PrEP that offers durable, sustained protection from HIV transmission, high efficacy of HIV inhibition, increased adherence and the ability to be removed in the case of an unanticipated adverse event or when considering [discontinuation],” said Martina Kovarova, UNC School of Medicine.

    April 6, 2017
    EPM Magazine
  • The number of new HIV diagnoses in gay men attending five key London clinics fell substantially during 2015 and 2016, Valerie Delpech of Public Health England told the British HIV Association conference in Liverpool yesterday. Epidemiological analysis shows that the phenomenon is real.

    April 6, 2017
    AIDSmap
  • A recent scientific breakthrough at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln brings scientists closer to the development of a potential HIV vaccine. In a recent study, scientists were able to engineer an on/off switch into a weakened form of HIV to replicate at a level that could make the host potentially immune to the virus. Then by turning off the switch, the virus would stop replication, and thus make their vaccine much safer than other vaccine candidates in development.

    April 5, 2017
    HIV Equal
  • International...researchers involved in the ANRS 12174 randomised controlled trial of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for infants say that it is high time we started giving PrEP to all breastfed babies of HIV-positive mothers in countries where likelihood of transmission via breastfeeding remains significant....Given that lamivudine PrEP could potentially be so cheap, it should be given as routine to infants of all HIV-positive mothers as long as they are breastfed, whether the mother is on ART or not.

    April 5, 2017
    AIDSmap
  • The study by Li and her colleagues [reported today in Science]...examined more than 365,000 [NIH] grants issued between 1980 and 2007....As they report in a companion paper currently under review at an economics journal, each $1 in NIH funding generates an estimated $1.40 in drug sales — a figure that doesn’t include the economic benefit accrued through the development of devices, surgical techniques, public-health improvements or other non-pharmaceutical applications of NIH-supported research.

    April 5, 2017
    Nature
  • Reports from the Office of Health Standards Compliance and members of the activist organisation Treatment Action Campaign paint a picture of a public healthcare system often so severely dysfunctional that it hinders the implementation of HIV and TB programmes....It is with this in mind that South Africa’s new national strategic plan for HIV and TB, launched Friday, should have been developed. But there is no indication that the realities on the ground have been translated on to paper in the document.

    April 4, 2017
    Bhekisisa
  • Former President George W. Bush touted his signature aid project for Africa during a visit to Botswana Tuesday, saying he hoped Washington would recognise its importance....Launched in 2003 during the first Bush administration, PEPFAR,...has branched out...to include provision of services for cervical cancer, which is linked to HIV infections in women....Bush, visiting a clinic with his wife Laura that provides screening and treatment for cervical cancer, said he hoped such commitments would remain.

    April 4, 2017
    Reuters
  • The WHO reclassification last month of progestogen-only injectable contraceptives has triggered a critical debate in the family planning community over how to manage the potential link between higher rates of HIV acquisition and one of the most popular birth control methods in many at-risk communities....Providers said the new guidance is causing them to rethink how to identify a woman with a higher likelihood of acquiring HIV and how to communicate the possible risk of the injectables to those clients. The stakes are enormous.

    April 4, 2017
    Devex
  • The letter here by Sean Cahill, Kenneth Mayer, and Stephen Boswell of Fenway Institute takes issue with a recent JAMA editorial in which oncologist and bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel argued that public health spending on HIV services was disproportionately high....Cahill et al note that greater resources are important to respond to all critical health concerns, and that the prioritization that Dr. Emanuel encourages is ill-advised... Emanuel responds,...calling the authors “irresponsible” for seeming “to imply that resource limits do not exist.”

    April 3, 2017
    Science Speaks
  • In May, the WHO will select a new director general....On most issues, the candidates' positions are similar....But in interviews with the New York Times and in public forums, the candidates have dodged some fundamental questions. None will say what they will cut from the agency's strained budget [or] name any countries, foundations, or corporations they think have too much influence.

    April 3, 2017
    NY Times
  • Days after Melania Trump presented courage awards to 13 women working for gender equity around the globe, President Donald Trump’s administration halted all US grants to UNFPA, [which] provides reproductive health care...in more than 150 countries....This is not Trump’s first move to hamper international family planning efforts. Earlier this year, he reinstated the Global Gag Rule, [which] affects $9.5 billion in US global health funding to organizations working on AIDS, malaria, and maternal and child health.

    April 3, 2017
    Huffington Post
  • A proposal by President Trump to cut federal spending for biomedical research by 18 percent — just months after Congress approved bipartisan legislation to increase such spending — has run into a buzz saw on Capitol Hill, with Republicans and Democrats calling it misguided.

    April 3, 2017
    NY Times
  • For HIV-positive eastern Ukrainians, the struggle against Russian-backed separatists isn't just about dignity—it's about their right to stay alive....According to [UN special envoy Michel Kazatchkine,...the most viable longer-term solution may be to include an arrangement for funding HIV and TB treatment in international negotiations...for cease-fires and road maps for an end to the conflict....Unfortunately, the rapidly changing political situation in Ukraine, Europe, Russia, and the United States makes such agreements more tenuous than ever.

    March 31, 2017
    Foreign Policy
  • The CDC has clinical guidelines for identifying PrEP candidates and developed a risk-screening tool. One study examined how accurate these current guidelines and risk-screening tools are among a group of young Black men who have sex with men. Terri Wilder, MSW, spoke with study author John Schneider, MD, MPH, at CROI 2017, in Seattle.

    March 29, 2017
    BodyPRO

Published Research

  • The 2016 HIV Diagnostics Conference featured performance data for lab and CLIA-waived tests and implementation challenges such as lack of test options for second and third steps, and data needs for new tests. CDC staff highlighted new guidance for testing in non-clinical settings. Work continues to optimize testing so that infections are accurately identified as early as possible and time to treatment is minimized.

    April 6, 2017
    J Clin Virology
  • The net physiological and behavioural effects of hormonal contraception on HIV acquisition cannot be predicted from existing animal models and observational clinical data. To date there is no evidence from randomised controlled trials which confirms a greater risk with injectable progestogens than with the copper intrauterine device. This sub-study was underpowered to rule out moderate differences in HIV risk, but confirms the feasibility of randomised trial methodology to address this question.

    April 5, 2017
    J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care
  • Scientists and policy-makers have long argued that public investments in science have practical applications. Using data on patents linked to US National Institutes of Health grants over a 27-year period, we provide a large-scale accounting of linkages between public research investments and subsequent patenting. We find that about 10% of NIH grants generate a patent directly but 30% generate articles that are subsequently cited by patents.

    March 30, 2017
    Science
  • The landscape of HIV testing has changed significantly following the rise in importance of the ‘treatment as prevention’ strategy and advancements in HIV testing and prevention. MSM are one of the hardest groups to reach with standard or conventional HIV testing approaches. To develop innovative testing strategies for this group, a good understanding of their concerns, barriers and facilitators is needed. This updated review provides valuable information for improving existing programs and designing new services.

    March 22, 2017
    AIDS and Behavior
  • A total of 83 pre-seroconversion specimens from 61 seroconverters from the FEM-PrEP trial were further analysed in a sub-study look-back procedure. Results: Detection of new HIV infection in a Prep environment can be done with different tests. Standard tests are the most sensitive in early detecting new infections. Simple rapid tests are also sensitive and safe.

    March 21, 2017
    J Clin Virology

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