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7 NOVEMBER 2014 VOLUME 15 ISSUE 45

Media Coverage

  • In a view to confronting critical health and developmental issues in the country, Population Council has made moves geared towards reviewing the age of consent among youths in Nigeria. This giant step began last week in Lagos when the council hosted over thirty adolescents aged between 16 and 17 years from Southern geopolitical zones to deliberate on guidelines for conduct of research and provision of Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services among adolescents in Nigeria....
    November 6, 2014
    Guardian
  • I haven't seen anything that actually explains why the results of the PROUD and IPERGAY studies are so important....[T]he central importance of both [studies] is that these are true effectiveness results, not efficacy ones....Effectiveness measures the effect of the treatment on everyone allocated to it regardless of whether they took it or not. It's a much fairer measure, as it shows not just whether the treatment works, but whether people like it or want it....These studies demolish several assertions made by critics of PrEP....
    November 5, 2014
    Huffington Post
  • Botswana's Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, a former deputy director of the WHO's Africa office (AFRO), has been chosen to lead the organization's regional branch at a meeting in Benin. Moeti joined the WHO in 1999 as regional adviser for Women’s and Adolescent Health. She has also held senior positions within the organization, including a stint as regional adviser on the WHO's HIV/AIDS program and head of its Malawi office.
    November 5, 2014
    Reuters
  • One of the world’s leading AIDS activists has accused Britain of “signing a death warrant” for South Africans in need of treatment after withdrawing aid from an influential campaign group, which now faces ruin. Stephen Lewis, a former UN special envoy for AIDS in Africa, bitterly criticised the Department for International Development (DfID) over its decision to stop funding activists who forced the South African government to reverse its policy of AIDS “denialism”....
    November 5, 2014
    Guardian
  • In 1957...Zanzibar...confronted the malaria threat there with an all-out attack on the parasite that spreads the disease. The result was rewarding, with the disease all but eliminated there. In more recent years, the same effort was repeated, with similar success. Why twice? Because the response to the success of the first time led public health officials to deduce their work was done. The questionable wisdom of that thinking is built into a tendency of human nature, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday: “recidivism.”
    November 5, 2014
    Science
  • When a single issue, disease or disaster rises above others and achieves global notoriety, aid watchers often worry about resources and funding getting sapped from less eye-catching — but equally pressing — priorities....But as global health leaders pointed out Tuesday in Washington, DC, the spotlight on Ebola could help, not hinder, public health professionals seeking funds for HIV research and other public health initiatives.
    November 5, 2014
    Devex
  • Can a congressional odd couple successfully shake up the complex system that transforms research discoveries into new drugs and treatments? It’s a question that has been rippling through biomedical research circles in recent months, as an unlikely pair of allies—conservative Representative Fred Upton (R–MI) and the relatively liberal Representative Diana DeGette (D–CO)—have pursued a project they’ve dubbed the 21st Century Cures Initiative.
    November 4, 2014
    Science
  • After Oyewale Tomori finished his talk on Ebola here at the International Meeting on Emerging Diseases and Surveillance, there was stunned silence. Tomori, president of the Nigerian Academy of Science, used his plenary to deliver a scathing critique of how African countries have handled the threat of Ebola and how corruption is hampering efforts to improve health. Aid money often simply disappears, Tomori charged, "and we are left underdeveloped, totally and completely unprepared to tackle emerging pathogens."
    November 3, 2014
    Science
  • Patients infected with HIV are being ordered out of hospitals in Yemen, even when in dire need of care, a human rights group says. Human Rights Watch...described a woman in labor and in need of a cesarean section being turned away from a private hospital and a woman suffering from seizures ordered out of a large public hospital by a doctor shouting in front of everyone in the emergency room that she had HIV.
     
    November 3, 2014
    New York Times
  • Namibia's Supreme Court upheld a ruling that health workers sterilized HIV-positive women without their consent....The 2012 judgment that was upheld had found that health workers had coerced three HIV-positive mothers to sign sterilization consent forms they did not fully understand, and while in labor, the Southern Africa Litigation Center said. The center said the ruling sends a message to the government to stop the practice in the southwestern African nation, and elsewhere.
    November 3, 2014
    Associated Press
  • Hundreds of government and civilian workers of all stripes, and thousands of military personnel, have braved the terrifying prospect of infection to respond to the Ebola emergency in West Africa. And thousands more will be needed for an effort expected to go well into 2015.... [A] host of obstacles stand in the way....Foremost among them, perhaps, is that with no central agency in charge, volunteers often cannot be placed when and where they are most needed.
    November 3, 2014
    New York Times
  • The award-winning documentary Fire in the Blood exposes the challenges NGOs, doctors and activists face in their fight against big pharma and patent laws that prevent millions of HIV/AIDS patients in the developing world from accessing lifesaving drugs.
    November 1, 2014
    Aljazeera
  • Microbicides, products specifically aimed at protecting women from HIV without the need to negotiate condom use, are missing in the scientific response to the AIDS pandemic, say researchers working to bridge the gap....[S]aid Elizabeth Bukusi, deputy director of research and training at the Kenya Medical Research Centre: "We need an option that women have the choice about using," Bukusi said. "If she can't protect herself because her partner will not put [a condom] on, we need her to have something she can use to protect herself."
    October 30, 2014
    CBC News
  • A pill which can reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 90 per cent is most effective when used at the same time as sex, French researchers have said. Trials of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) among gay men in the UK were extended earlier this month after the daily pills were shown to provide unprecedented protection to those most at risk of infection.
    October 30, 2014
    The Independent
  • As HIV prevention needs and contexts vary, it is important to expand the range of effective prevention options that people can use. Archbishop Desmond Tutu said in a video link at the first-ever international conference on all HIV-related biomedical prevention research held this week in Cape Town, South Africa], that “No single method of prevention can end this epidemic on its own."
     
    October 29, 2014
    Asian Tribune

Published Research

  • Immediate aggressive scale up of existing approaches including the 2013 WHO guidelines could reduce new infections by 80%. A ‘Test and Treat’ approach could further reduce new infections. This could be further enhanced by a future highly effective pre-exposure prophylaxis and an HIV vaccine, so that a combination of all four approaches could reduce new infections to as low as 80,000 per year by 2050 and annual AIDS deaths to 260,000.
     
    November 6, 2014
    PLoS ONE
  • Here we report a broad and extremely potent HIV-specific monoclonal antibody, termed 35O22....The specificity of 35O22 represents a novel site of vulnerability on HIV Env....Binding to this new site of vulnerability may thus be an important complement to current monoclonal-antibody-based approaches to immunotherapies, prophylaxis and vaccine design.
     
    November 6, 2014
    Nature
  • In 2004, both the FDA and WHO identified public–private partnerships (PPPs) and consortia as the cornerstone of solutions to address mounting scientific questions and stimulate innovation in drug development....In the following articles in [this issue], representatives from some of the major stakeholder groups and consortia describe their roles, summarize progress so far and provide their perspectives on the opportunities, challenges and lessons learned for biomedical consortia in general.
    November 6, 2014
    Nature Reviews Drug Discovery
  • While the Caribbean has the second highest global human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevalence, insufficient attention has been paid to contributing factors of the region's elevated risk....Results suggest three themes: (1) local demand shifts drug routes to tourism areas, (2) drugs shape local economies and (3) drug use facilitates HIV risk behaviours in tourism areas.
    November 6, 2014
    Global Public Health
  • For those of us who lived through the early days of the US AIDS epidemic, the current national panic over Ebola brings back some very bad memories.
    November 5, 2014
    NEJM
  • Scientists have developed a novel topical microbicide loaded with hyaluronic acid (HA) nanofibers that could potentially prevent transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) through the vaginal mucosa. This research is being presented at the 2014 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Diego, Nov. 2-6.
    November 4, 2014
    Science Daily
  • Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany and collaborators from Heidelberg University, in the joint Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit, have obtained the first structure of the immature form of HIV at a high enough resolution to pinpoint exactly where each building block sits in the virus. The study, published online today in Nature, reveals that the building blocks of the immature form of HIV are arranged in a surprising way.
    November 3, 2014
    Science Daily
  • Medical researchers have described the activity of a recently discovered communication molecule of the body's immune system, Interleukin 37 or IL-37. It has been known to limit inflammation and the current study reports its activity in the adaptive immune system: IL-37 inhibits the ability of the immune system to recognize and target new antigens.
     
    November 3, 2014
    Science Daily
  • New research from Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, sheds light on the question of which cells support viral replication and persistence, and the answers have implications for future efforts to eliminate HIV from the body in human patients. The results were published Oct. 30 in the journal PLOS Pathogens.
    November 1, 2014
    Science Daily
  • Without a step change in the productivity of pharmaceutical research and development, it will be difficult to tackle the public health challenges facing societies worldwide. Public–private partnerships could play a key role in achieving this step change, but they need to be well designed and led.
    October 31, 2014
    Nature Reviews Drug Discovery
  • In addition to providing other potential benefits to public health, all of those tweets and Facebook posts could help curb the spread of HIV. Although public health researchers have focused early applications of social media on reliably monitoring the spread of diseases such as the flu, Sean Young of the Center for Digital Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles, writes in the Cell Press journal Trends in Microbiology of a future in which social media might predict and even change biomedical outcomes. 
     
    October 29, 2014
    Science Daily
  • The authors of a major new report on culture and health, led by Professor David Napier, a leading medical anthropologist from University College London (UCL), UK, and published in The Lancet....argue that cultures of all kinds -- not only people's religious or ethnic identity, but also professional and political cultures -- have been sidelined and misunderstood by both medical professionals and society as a whole.
    October 28, 2014
    Science Daily

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