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8 April 2016 VOLUME 17 ISSUE 14

Media Coverage

  • Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and collaborating institutions have described the first-ever immature or “teenage” antibody found in a powerful class of immune molecules effective against HIV. “This is actually the first example of how we can go back to the really early stage to see how this antibody lineage was born and can develop,” said TSRI biologist Jiang Zhu, co-senior author of the study. The research was an international collaboration.

    April 7, 2016
    Antibody Related Research
    Health Canal
  • Malawi's youths and other sexually active groups are finding it difficult to access condoms in some public hospitals which puts lives of the youths in danger...."We either buy them in chain stores or else we go without putting them," said one of the Zomba based youths....MANASO Executive Director, Abgail Dzimazi, expressed concern that condom shortage is likely to fuel the increase of new HIV/AIDS infections.

    April 7, 2016
    Nyasa Times
  • A local NGO, dedicated to the protection of the rights of vulnerable girls and women, "Society for Women and AIDS in Africa (SWAA) - Ghana", is advocating free health insurance for female head porters, popularly referred to as, "kayayes". Mrs. Elsie Ayeh, its Ashanti Regional Coordinator,... pointed out that the harsh economic situation they found themselves had been making it difficult for them to afford medical treatment when sick.

    April 7, 2016
    Business Ghana
  • NERCHA and UNAIDS will be hosting a High Level Indaba on HIV Prevention for Young People in Swaziland on Wednesday, the 13th April, 2016....The indaba aims to capture the voices of young people on what they believe can best address their needs towards ending AIDS by 2022 and the subsequent development and implementation of tailored HIV prevention interventions for young people. It will also...lead to the drafting of a political communiqué informed by young people in Swaziland

    April 7, 2016
    Swazi Observer
  • Two of the world’s top HIV prevention clinical trial networks have joined forces to test an experimental antibody that could potentially protect people from infection by almost all strains of the rapidly mutating virus that causes AIDS. The first of two studies, known as AMP, launched today in the United States when a clinical trial site in Nashville enrolled its first volunteer.

    April 7, 2016
    Antibody Related Research
    Hutch News
  • Recently NHS England announced a shock decision - that it would not fund PrEP....Much of the coverage and reaction to this decision has focussed on the impact on gay men who might benefit from PrEP....Nevertheless anyone can acquire HIV. In 2014, 6151 people in the UK were diagnosed with HIV including 1540 women representing 25 percent of new HIV diagnoses....So why are they excluded completely from access to PrEP in the UK on the NHS?

    April 7, 2016
    Huffington Post
  • On April 2, UNAIDS released revised resource needs estimates that reflect important new analysis about what it will take to put the world on the “fast track” to ending the AIDS crisis.... Unfortunately,...the agency’s new projections about what is needed to end the AIDS epidemic make completely unrealistic and unreasonable expectations about what low- and middle-income countries can and will pay 

    April 7, 2016
    Medium
  • A number of barriers to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake, use, and adherence have been identified—cost shouldn’t be one of them.

    April 7, 2016
    TAG
  • First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed Scotland will make its own decision on pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, after NHS England extended trials for two years. Currently running for reelection in Glasgow Southside, the leader of the SNP told PinkNews that she was “keen” for Scotland to go its own way on PrEP and said it wouldn’t necessarily be the case Scotland follow recommendations made in England.

    April 6, 2016
    PinkNews
  • One main factor reinforcing...gender-based violence is patriarchy, a system that gives men power over women. Olepolotse is among many in the country who had absent fathers....Now Olepolotse, who is the father of a two-month-old baby, ranks among those who want to be part of a family. This change in attitude is due to the MenCare programme, which targets men and boys with the aim of helping to reduce gender inequalities and gender-based violence, prevent HIV, and promote the health and well-being of women, men and children.

    April 6, 2016
    Mmegi Online
  • Thousands of people 50 and older are diagnosed with HIV each year in the United States, a development that has significant consequences for the health care and social support they need and the doctors, counselors and others who provide it....Yet health-care providers still don't routinely consider HIV when treating older patients, despite guidelines that call on them to screen through age 64, researchers and physicians say.

    April 6, 2016
    Washington Post
  • In a profoundly troubling lawsuit against the City of Baton Rouge and local HIV/AIDS non-profits, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has forced federal funds to be withheld while AHF continues their litigious temper tantrum over not receiving a Ryan White Care Act grant award they requested. The vindictive action poses a real and present danger to services being provided to people with HIV in the area.

    April 6, 2016
    TheBody.com
  • Regarding the use in HIV of Genvoya, the fixed-dose combination of elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide, there is a hint of a minor added benefit for pretreated women, and a hint of lesser benefit for treatment-naive adults. Negative effects predominate in treatment-naive adults, irrespective of sex. Data were lacking for adolescents.

    April 6, 2016
    Science Daily
  • Researchers at Vanderbilt University have isolated antibodies with a loop-like structure that binds tightly to HIV and disables it....Using computer modeling, they re-engineered and optimized the antibodies' neutralizing capacity. The findings, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest it may be possible to rapidly induce broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV in people who have not been exposed previously to HIV by using a structure-based vaccine design approach.

    April 6, 2016
    Antibody Related Research
    Science Daily
  • Of more than 1,000 gay and bisexual men surveyed, only 83, fewer than one in 10, reported that they use HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). 42 percent of those who do use it said they had not skipped a single dose in the previous 90 days, and only 6 percent had skipped more than two doses per week, the investigators reported at the annual meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine... But overall, doctors aren’t prescribing the drug to enough of the men who could use it, the study found.

    April 5, 2016
    Reuters India
  • Public-health experts have applauded GlaxoSmithKline for unveiling new patent policies that could make it easier for people in the world’s poorest countries to access drugs. But they say other companies will need to follow suit if patients are to see significant improvements in access to medicines....For instance, although Africa might benefit particularly from the changes, around 75 percent of the world’s poor people live in ‘middle income' countries that will not gain as much from the new measures.

    April 5, 2016
    Nature
  • A widely derided editorial, a controversial series of articles, and delayed corrections have prompted critics to question the direction of the New England Journal of Medicine....Following a series of well-publicized feuds with prominent medical researchers and former editors of the Journal, some are questioning whether the publication is slipping in relevancy and reputation.

    April 5, 2016
    ProPublica
  • Serving for more than 20 years in the House of Representatives and witnessing significant global events such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic,...I became convinced that the US has played – and must continue to play – a leading role in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty, eliminate disease, unlock opportunity, and increase economic growth around the world. I also became convinced that.... we must maintain an unwavering focus on spending foreign assistance dollars effectively and efficiently.

    April 5, 2016
    The Hill
  • Johnson & Johnson is deepening its business in Africa, adding new research, development and distribution capabilities to boost sales of new medicines to fight HIV/AIDS and other major killer diseases. The makeover formally kicks off Wednesday in Cape Town, South Africa, with the opening of the first office of a new global public health unit the company created last year. The unit has two objectives.

    April 5, 2016
    Wall Street Journal
  • Expressing concern about foreign influence, India is turning away from a decades-old practice of filling gaps within its health system with consultants hired by foreign aid agencies and nongovernmental organizations. Under the new rules, consultants who have worked within India’s health system for foreign aid agencies for more than three years...will be terminated....Fifty employees of the National AIDS Control Organization were given notice this month, though supervisors said they hoped to retain them as government employees.

    April 5, 2016
    New York Times
  • Gilead Sciences has notched yet another HIV therapy approval as touted blockbuster Descovy gains the nod from the US regulator. The drug's mechanism of action is through emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide (TAF), a targeted souped-up version of tenofovir that can give the similar antiviral activity as Gilead's older HIV drug, the TDF treatment Viread [and]...can be given at lower doses.

    April 5, 2016
    Fierce Biotech
  • GlaxoSmithKline has said it will not file patents for drugs in the world's poorest countries in order to improve access to its products. The company will instead pitch its approach to intellectual property in a country to reflect its "economic maturity". There will be free generic competition in least-developed countries, while GSK will seek patents in lower middle-income countries but will license rights to generic manufacturers for a 10-year period in return for a modest royalty.

    April 5, 2016
    PMLiVE
  • In their latest work, Schief and colleagues conducted sophisticated modeling experiments to analyze whether it’s possible to take a protein engineered to mimic the HIV envelope protein and present it in a way that activates those crucial precursor cells and starts them down the path toward eventual production of bnAbs. The team then used this information to engineer and test an optimized protein, called eOD-GT8, which was designed like an irresistible siren song to inspire precursors in human blood to pay attention and get to work.

    April 5, 2016
    NIH Director's Blog
  • More than half the female sex workers in South Africa’s three largest cities are HIV positive – but less than one-third are on antiretroviral treatment, according to a newly released study. Over 90 percent of these women have voluntarily gone for HIV tests, received counselling and regularly use condoms with their clients. Yet they have not been able to access HIV treatment in equal numbers.

    April 4, 2016
    The Conversation
  • A series of media outlets have erroneously reported that scientists may be just three years away from developing a cure for HIV. This false claim traces to an article published in the United Kingdom’s The Telegraph concerning researchers who recently succeeded in editing HIV’s genetic code out of immune cells in a laboratory setting....Its incorrect claim has fanned across the Internet, parroted by Fortune, Fox News, AOL News and various others.

    April 4, 2016
    Poz
  • Zoey is just one of the 468,000 American women who stand to benefit from the miracle drug Truvada, the only brand of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV prevention currently on the market.... Truvada has actually been available since 2012, but because the drug has primarily been marketed to gay and bisexual men,...a majority of...women whose lives could be dramatically transformed for the better if they were given access to PrEP, have never even heard of it.

    April 4, 2016
    Women's Health Magazine
  • This week, ahead of the June 2016 UN high-level meeting,...there is a collective unease among those on the front lines of the HIV response....They are concerned about global HIV targets that may be interpreted too optimistically by political leaders in high-prevalence countries, overly simplistic messaging on “ending AIDS,” and the lack of emphasis on HIV in the Sustainable Development Goals that may signal a receding sense of urgency around the epidemic.

    April 4, 2016
    Global Health Now
  • “Nearly half” of all rectal gonorrhea cases may be eliminated if men did not use their partners’ saliva as a lubricant during anal sex, reports a study published recently in Sexually Transmitted Infections. However, the authors note, “It is likely that the public health message from our findings is complicated and involves more than simply recommending that saliva is not used as a lubricant for anal sex.”

    April 4, 2016
    BetaBlog
  • Gilead Sciences says the US FDA has approved Descovy, a fixed-dose combination for treatment of HIV and "first new HIV treatment backbone approved in a decade". Descovy is indicated in combination with other antiretroviral agents for treatment of HIV-1 infection in adults and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older. It is not indicated for use as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV-1 in adults at high risk.

    April 4, 2016
    Proactive Investors
  • Around two dozen students from Harvard Medical School and Tufts University and members of health activist groups protested in front of the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development claiming new figures suggesting bringing a new drug to market costs nearly $3 billion came from a "biased" report....The Tufts protest was part of a larger movement aimed at Big Pharma called "Pharma Fools Day," with protests taking place in 12 cities across the world.

    April 4, 2016
    Fierce Biotech
  • A qualitative study with West African women living in London who have difficulties adhering to their HIV treatment has found that many think of HIV treatment as a ‘life sentence’ that they long to escape from....But some women described an improvement in their feelings about the medication over time, talking about the factors that helped them with adherence.

    April 4, 2016
    aidsmap
  • Among the calls -- "Commit to a comprehensive PLHIV, women, adolescents and key populations driven prevention agenda, which includes massively increasing access to new prevention technologies such as voluntary medical male circumcision, PrEP and microbicides as well as quality-assured commodities,...and services such as PMTCT and HIV self-testing and home testing.

    April 1, 2016
    ITPC Global
  • The candidate, GEN-003, consists of proteins and an adjuvant and targets a T-cell response to the herpes simplex virus type 2....Genocea aims to reduce viral activity, measured by the viral shedding and genital lesion rates....In the more immediate future is a trial combining GEN-003 with oral antivirals to see if they work better together than on their own....If GEN-003 and the oral antivirals work well together, the latter could become a more convenient alternative for these patients and eliminate gaps in their treatment.

    April 1, 2016
    Fierce Vaccines
  • Anal infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) types associated with a high risk of pre-cancerous and cancerous cell changes persisted for two years in 37 percent of MSM enrolled in an international... prospective, observational study [that] involved 406 HIV-negative MSM in Brazil, Mexico and the United States. Among men with prevalent high-risk HPV infection, 37 percent retained the infection for at least 24 months and HPV-16 infection persisted for at least 24 months in 30 percent of those with this infection at baseline.

    March 30, 2016
    aidsmap
  • ...Thursday, June 18, is the start of the third “Globe-athon to End Women’s Cancers,” two days of events in New York City dedicated to making people more aware of the cancers that strike more than 1 million women a year and figuring out the best strategies for diagnosis and treatment. There’s a particular emphasis on getting the message out in the developing world, where cervical cancer rates are on the rise.

    June 17, 2015
    New England Public Radio

Published Research

  • We studied...two sulfated and naphthylsulfonated functionalized carbosilane dendrimers, G3-S16 and G2-NF16. Both compounds impede the binding of viral particles to target cell surface and membrane fusion through the blockage of gp120–CD4 interaction. In addition, and for the first time, we demonstrate that...carbosilane dendrimers’ mode of action is a multifactorial process targeting several proteins from viral envelope and from host cells that could block HIV infection at different stages during the first step of infection.

    April 5, 2016
    Intl J of Nanomedicine
  • Although HIV oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has proven effective in several clinical trials, vaginal and oral PrEP have failed in studies involving women in South Africa....HIV prevention strategies applied in clinical trial settings of young South African women can lack the cultural, socioeconomic, and historical background knowledge and insight to cater for the specific needs of this population. A PrEP panacea might, therefore, not be an achievable goal.

    April 1, 2016
    Lancet HIV
  • We, a network of community-based stakeholders, believe that sub-Saharan Africa is ready for PrEP. However, this introduction should be considered in sexual health centres where key populations can have free and unlimited access to a global prevention package in a non-discriminatory setting.... Implementing PrEP demonstration projects in these centres is essential to identify barriers and delivery models, while ensuring that people who do not want to take PrEP still have free and unlimited access to other sexual health services.

    April 1, 2016
    Lancet HIV
  • If the science community is serious about integrating social science into its thinking and operations,...then we social scientists must do more to make this happen....Social scientists understand that many colleagues in the hard sciences are sceptical of what we can offer. We know that we need to make our contribution more widely understood and appreciated. This week, social scientists in Britain take what we hope will be a significant step.

    April 1, 2016
    Nature
  • In this PLOS Collection, global health leaders chart the path to a dramatic reduction in the global burden of disease by 2035. [It]…describes how to reduce avertable infectious, maternal, and child deaths down to universally low levels within a generation by aggressively scaling up health tools and continuing to invest in the tools of tomorrow.

    April 1, 2016
    PLoS
  • The UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) in June, 1998, was devoted to the World Drug Problem.... The session concluded with a hope for a drug free world including the eradication of drug crops.... But almost three decades on, with a new UNGASS on drugs planned for April 19–21,... drug use is now more widespread and more prevalent than ever before and in several regions drug use is fuelling growing HIV epidemics.

    April 1, 2016
    Lancet HIV
  • On March 21, NHS England announced that, contrary to expectation, it will not proceed with a scale-up of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for prevention of HIV infection among at-risk populations.... The decision has outraged HIV charities and activists, sparking a new flurry of media condemnation of the government's decision.

    April 1, 2016
    Lancet
  • Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV remains a major objective....We tested HIV-1–specific human neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (NmAbs) as a post-exposure therapy in an infant macaque model for intrapartum MTCT....[Our] results suggest that early passive immunotherapy can eliminate early viral foci and thereby prevent the establishment of viral reservoirs.

    March 21, 2016
    Antibody Related Research
    Nature
  • Black and Latino PWID were more likely to be HIV-negative if they lived in less economically disadvantaged counties or metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) with less criminal-justice activity....Latino PWID were more likely to be HIV-negative in MSAs with more Latino isolation, less black isolation, and less violent crime....Structural interventions to improve economic conditions and reduce drug-related criminal justice activity may show evidence that they protect black and Latino PWID from HIV infection.

    March 14, 2016
    PLoS ONE

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