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8 July 2016 VOLUME 17 ISSUE 27

Media Coverage

  • Despite advances in treatment, older adults living with HIV can face unique health challenges related to long-term use of antiretroviral medications, as well as...HIV-related stigma and discrimination. The National Center for Innovation in HIV Care at the Fenway Institute recently published “Strategies to Improve the Health of Older Adults Living with HIV,” a policy brief for health care and HIV service providers on ways they can help clients and patients address some of these challenges.

    July 7, 2016
    Advocate
  • The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research announces a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement for development of a Zika vaccine candidate with Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi....Preclinical work on the vaccine is being conducted with long-term HIV vaccine collaborators at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School.

    July 7, 2016
    Medical News
  • After just over a month on the job, the new CEO of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation is looking at how the organization can provide more help to people of color and the transgender community. Joe Hollendoner, 35, who took over in May as the leader of San Francisco's largest AIDS-related nonprofit, said...he's been doing "a lot of listening and learning" with staff, clients, SFAF's partners, and others.

    July 7, 2016
    Bay Area Reporter
  • In recent weeks, authorities added two leading HIV-prevention groups to a "foreign agents" blacklist, as a broader crackdown on independent civil society hits the battle against HIV....Yet last month, the label was slapped on Esvero, an umbrella group for organisations fighting the spread of HIV in Russia, and the Andrey Rylkov Foundation, which runs Moscow's only programme offering clean needles and advice to drug addicts.

    July 7, 2016
    AFP
  • In the study, researchers worked with a species of Old World monkeys, rhesus macaques to reproduce the trial results of RV144, the only HIV vaccine that has been tested and shown to reduce the rate of HIV acquisition in a phase III clinical trial.

    July 7, 2016
    Science Daily
  • A team of scientists and program managers, led by the NIH, has been studying a variety of implementation science approaches to prevent mother-to-child transmission and has published the results in a 16-article open-access supplement to the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. In implementation science, scientists study how to integrate research findings and other evidence-based practices into routine care and services.

    July 6, 2016
    Sustainable City Network
  • A pair of comprehensive reviews supported by the World Health Organization have found that prompt initiation of ART is associated with a lower risk of developing opportunistic infections and other HIV-related illnesses in children and adults living with HIV. Both reviews were published in the June 15 edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

    July 6, 2016
    HIV & Hepatitis
  • The proportion of gay and bisexual men who started and remained on Truvada for PrEP varied in real-world implementation programs in 3 mid-size US cities [Providence, RI; Jackson, MI; St. Louis, MO] but retention in care was "consistently suboptimal," according to a study in the June 13 online edition of JAIDS. Among those who did remain in care, however, adherence was good.

    July 6, 2016
    HIV & Hepatitis
  • Viral hepatitis has become a leading cause of death and disability across the globe - killing as many people annually as TB, malaria or HIV/AIDS. This is the finding of new research from scientists at Imperial College London and University of Washington, who analysed data from 183 countries collected between 1990 and 2013.

    July 6, 2016
    Imperial College News
  • Antiretroviral therapy has turned what was once a death sentence into a chronic disease, which means more patients are living into their 60s and even 70s....That’s an unalloyed success, but HIV medications are typically toxic not only for the virus, but also for the people who take them. That poses a new challenge for drugmakers.

    July 6, 2016
    Bloomberg
  • Hiking prices on older meds to prod patients toward newer ones is a time-honored pharma tactic. And Gilead Sciences is using it, now that it has launched a new generation of HIV fighters. The Big Biotech raised the prices on a range of older meds by 7% to 10%....The price-hike strategy isn’t only a way to grab sales for recent launches, but collect as much revenue as possible from aging brands before they go off patent.

    July 6, 2016
    Fierce BioTech
  • In the November 2015 issue of The Lancet Global Health, Paul Drain, University of Washington, and Nigel Garrett of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) highlighted three challenges to POC adoption in remote, resource-limited settings: Ensuring oversight for maintaining the integrity and accuracy of diagnostic testing; assessing the effect of point-of-care testing on labs; and criteria for adoption of novel point-of-care tests.

    July 5, 2016
    Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
  • Directors of public health Jim McManus and Dominic Harrison say despite overwhelming evidence that PrEP against HIV infection is largely safe, effective, and cost effective, NHS England has declined to make it available on the NHS, arguing that HIV prevention is the responsibility of local government. Such an approach, they write, "confounds its advocacy of a health and care system integrated around the best outcomes for the citizen and perpetuates an incoherent national approach to HIV prevention."

    July 5, 2016
    Science Daily
  • Figures published by Public Health England Tuesday suggested cases of syphilis jumped by 76% between 2012 and 2015 while cases of gonorrhoea rose by 53%....The data prompted renewed calls from a senior PHE official for people with new or casual sexual partners to have regular STI tests [and] help reverse the high levels of “condomless sex”. Charities fear cuts in sexual health services are undermining STI testing regimes and reversing improvements brought about by previous investment.

    July 5, 2016
    Guardian
  • Teenagers across Africa urgently need more information about sex to combat soaring rates of HIV and unwanted pregnancies, as widespread taboos and cultural conservatism prevent discussions in schools and homes. However, a growing number of businesses, charities and individuals are seeking to fill the gap....UNFPA and Nailab, a Kenyan firm that supports technology startups, are behind the latest initiative, which targets entrepreneurs for their ideas on providing sex education through technology and social media.

    July 4, 2016
    Reuters
  • Young women who received the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine through a school-based program had fewer cervical cell anomalies when screened for cervical cancer, found a new study in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

    July 4, 2016
    Science Daily
  • In India, opportunistic infections...are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in immune-compromised HIV-positive patients. And until antiretroviral therapy becomes freely accessible to all patients, the incidence of these infections will continue to climb. The majority of people living with HIV/AIDS will experience at least one ocular complication—the most dreaded being potentially blinding cytomegalovirus retinitis.

    July 1, 2016
    Global Health Now
  • Most adults carry multiple herpesviruses. Following the initial acute infection, these viruses establish life-long infections in their hosts and cause cold sores, keratitis, genital herpes, shingles, infectious mononucleosis, and other diseases. A new study suggests that attacking herpesvirus DNA with CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology can suppress virus replication and, in some cases, lead to elimination of the virus.

    June 30, 2016
    Antibody Related Research
    Science Daily
  • In this study we were able to enroll a sexually active population of young MSM and TGW [at three sites; Pittsburgh, PA; Boston, MA; and San Juan, PR] who were willing to use rectal microbicides. TFV gel was safe and acceptable and should be further developed as an alternative HIV prevention intervention for this population.

    June 30, 2016
    PLOS ONE
  • Want to stop HIV infections? Get the immune system to recognize and attack the virus's tell-tale structure. That's part of the basic approach behind efforts at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) to design an AIDS vaccine. This strategy may hinge on finding new ways to stabilize proteins called HIV-1 surface antigens and designing HIV-like particles to prompt the body to fight the real virus.

    June 28, 2016
    Scripps Research Institute

Published Research

  • Providing PrEP to pregnant and breastfeeding women in SSA is likely cost-effective, although more data are needed about adherence and safety. For populations at high risk of HIV acquisition, PrEP may be considered as part of a broader combination HIV prevention strategy.

    August 1, 2016
    JAIDS
  • Rhizosecretion has many advantages for production of recombinant pharmaceuticals, notably facile downstream processing. The aim of this study was to increase yields of the HIV microbicide candidate, Cyanovirin-N (CV-N).... The semi-purified CV-N was demonstrated to bind to HIV gp120...and neutralise HIVBa-L....Rhizosecretion is therefore a practicable and inexpensive method for the production of functional CV-N.

    July 7, 2016
    Biotechnology Journal
  • Islam was seen to play a pivotal role in shaping strategies relating to HIV prevention in Malaysia both directly and indirectly. Stakeholders often held different approaches to HIV prevention, which had to be sensitively considered, with some favouring promotion of Islamic principles, whilst others steering towards a more public health centered approach.

    July 7, 2016
    BMC Public Health
  • The success ratio of proposals to the NIH is something like 17% — that is, we are funding one-sixth of the proposals the NIH gets....If you ask Francis Collins, the NIH director, what fraction of the proposals they get that are worthy of funding, he’ll tell you 50%. That means we are funding about a third of the potentially productive, influential, path-breaking research proposed to the NIH.

    July 7, 2016
    Nature
  • Viral hepatitis is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Unlike most communicable diseases, the absolute burden and relative rank of viral hepatitis increased between 1990 and 2013. The enormous health loss attributable to viral hepatitis, and the availability of effective vaccines and treatments, suggests an important opportunity to improve public health.

    July 6, 2016
    Lancet
  • The NIH is slated to receive a $1.25 billion increase, to $33.3 billion, in a proposed spending measure released today by a House of Representatives spending panel. That 4% boost is good news for an agency that has been flat funded for a decade, although it falls short of a 6% raise approved by a Senate panel last month....The bill marks the second year in a row that this same House panel has given NIH an increase that exceeds the rising costs of doing biomedical research.

    July 6, 2016
    Science
  • Starting sometime this fall, the Wellcome Trust,...one of the biggest nongovernmental funders of biomedical research, will launch its own open-access online journal. Publication will be limited to the thousands of scientists worldwide working on research funded by a Wellcome grant, and will be free not only for readers, but authors.

    July 5, 2016
    Science
  • Three doses of a novel therapeutic DNA vaccine for genital herpes reduced viral shedding and genital lesion formation....Kenneth H. Fife, MD, Indiana University, said at ASM Microbe 2016...that while current antiviral therapies do a “reasonable job” managing HSV-2 symptoms, they are unable to eliminate viral shedding...[and] have not been shown to reduce the propensity of HSV-2 to facilitate HIV transmission.

    July 5, 2016
    Healio
  • Whatever route is finally chosen to fund PrEP, bouncing the decision across systems that are all funded by the same taxpayer will inevitably result in the continued and preventable further spread of HIV. This will generate avoidable mortality and increase future NHS costs for treatment. Perhaps it is time for NHS England just to “do the right thing.”

    July 5, 2016
    BMJ
  • EQUIP is a PEPFAR-USAID funded program in Malawi providing HIV mentoring since 2010....Fifty-two mentees from 32 health centers were interviewed. All mentees felt that EQUIP mentorship was successful. The most common benefit was an increase in clinical knowledge allowing for initiation of ART.... Shortages of health workers at sites pose a challenge because mentees are pulled from learning experiences to perform non-HIV-related clinic duties.

    June 28, 2016
    PLOS ONE
  • In a cohort of HBeAg-positive mothers with an HBV DNA level of more than 200,000 IU per milliliter during the third trimester, the rate of mother-to-child transmission was lower among those who received TDF therapy than among those who received usual care without antiviral therapy.

    June 16, 2016
    NEJM
  • A recombinant vaccine containing Aventis Pasteur's canarypox vector (ALVAC)–HIV and gp120 alum decreased the risk of HIV acquisition in the RV144 vaccine trial.

    June 16, 2016
    Nature
  • [The effort's] “inadequacies signal a pressing need for a comprehensive review of the nation’s ethical, legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks for protecting research subjects.” To conduct that review, the panel calls on the White House and Congress to appoint an expert panel modeled on a similar 1978 commission that produced a landmark report—known as the Belmont Report—that led to many of today’s rules governing human research.

    May 29, 2016
    Science

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