HIV vaccine ready for clinical trials


clinical trialsA vaccine that is capable of delivering a double whammy against AIDS-causing human immunodeficiency virus by both providing immunity against the infection while at the same time destroying cells infected by the virus is ready for clinical trials, a group of Russian researchers announced today.

The team from Vector State Scientific Center of Virology and Biotechnology, Kol’tsovo, Novosibirsk first reported their research on the CombiHIVvac in the journal Doklady Biochemistry and Biophysics in May 2007.

Key Hearing Awaits Pfizer Drug


pfizerA panel of outside medical experts is meeting Tuesday to evaluate a Pfizer HIV and AIDS drug that, if approved, would the the first in a new class of treatments. Pfizer is seeking support from the Food and Drug Administration for maraviroc, a pill being targeted at patients for whom other drugs, or drug combinations, have become ineffective.

Maraviroc "could broaden the arsenal of treatments to combat resistant forms" of the virus that causes AIDS, Pfizer told analysts last week when it issued first-quarter results. Maraviroc would be the first new oral class of HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, medicines in more than 10 years, Pfizer said.

WHO support male circumcision to fight spread of AIDS

UN health agencies on Wednesday gave the stamp of approval for including male circumcision in the panoply of arms to fight the spread of AIDS, stressing though that its success also depended on safe-sex awareness, sensitivity and resources.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the specialised agency UNAIDS declared that millions of lives could be saved if circumcision were widely and safely practised.

They issued guidelines at a press conference in Paris following a debate among experts, health officials and grassroots groups in Geneva on March 6-8. 

"The recommendations represent a significant step forward in
HIV prevention," said Kevin de Cock, director of the WHO's HIV/AIDS Department.

German AIDS Action Plan Aims to Revive Awareness


german ad campaignThe German cabinet approved a national action plan against the spread of HIV and AIDS, which focuses on increased preventive measures and research into new strains of drug-resistant viruses.

When it comes to HIV and AIDS, the discrepancy between knowledge of the disease and actual behavior is widening, German leaders warned this week.

According to government statistics, almost 100 percent of the German population is aware of the most frequent modes of HIV transmission and ways to protect against infection.

clinical trialsLOS ANGELES, CA -- March 6, 2007 -- Raltegravir could be a viable therapeutic option for people with highly drug-resistant strains of HIV, according to findings from 2 studies presented here at the 14th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI).

The drug inhibits the enzyme HIV-1 integrase, making it effective against multi-drug resistant strains of HIV-1 and particularly CCR5-tropic and CXCR4-tropic strains, said investigator David Cooper, MD, director, National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

In a presentation on February 28th, Dr. Cooper discussed the study -- Blocking integrase in treatment Experienced patients with a Novel Compound against HIV: MeRcK, MK-0518 (BENCHMRK)-1 -- which included patients in Europe, Asia/Pacific, and Peru.

Half Of HIV Spread By Newly Infected


aidsScience Daily — A new study led by McGill University researchers shows that half of all HIV transmissions happen when newly infected people don’t know they are carrying the virus and may not even test positive for it.

The study, published in the April edition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases and already available online, followed 2,500 patients in eight Montreal HIV clinics over eight years. It showed that newly infected patients are eight times more likely to transmit the virus than those in the chronic stage of AIDS given the same behaviour.

CD4 Count Predicts Non-Opportunistic Diseases in HIV


AIDSLOS ANGELES, Feb. 28 -- Like the traditional HIV-associated opportunistic infections, the toll of conditions such as heart and liver disease is also affected by the immune status of a patient, researchers reported here.

Most of us have previously assumed that prolonged survival and advancing age explain much of the increase in these common end-organ diseases" among HIV patients, said Jason Baker, M.D., of the University of Minnesota at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections here.

But in fact, he told an oral abstract session, the increase is related to a patient's CD4 count.

Breastfeeding safer for some HIV-infected mothers


breastfed childBreast-feeding, which helps build a baby's immune system, may be the best option for HIV-infected mothers in developing countries, despite the risk of transmitting the virus that causes AIDS to their babies, according to new studies presented on Monday.

HIV-positive mothers generally are counseled to feed their babies formula to limit the risk of transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus, but that has caused problems in nations where clean water and other needs may not be met.

Dr. Hoosen Coovadia a pediatrician at South Africa's University of KwaZulu-Natal, told the 14th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections that instructing HIV-infected mothers in developing nations to breast-feed would result in about 300,000 children becoming infected with HIV, but would save 1.5 million from dying of other diseases.

HIV/AIDSThe government of The Gambia gave the most senior United Nations official in the country 48 hours to leave the country starting Friday, following remarks she made criticising Gambian President Yahya Jammeh’s widely-publicised cure for HIV/AIDS.

Dadzai Gwardzimba, UN Resident Coordinator in the capital Banjul, is due to travel to New York, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

President Jammeh announced he had a cure for AIDS in January. It is reportedly made from herbs and bananas. He said he can eliminate the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from people living with the virus and heal people with AIDS in a matter of days. Footage of the president applying his treatment has been widely broadcast on state-run television.

Russia: $2.9Bln to Go Toward Combating Disease


HIV in RussiaThe Cabinet has tentatively approved a $2.9 billion program aimed at raising the country's life expectancy by tackling AIDS, diabetes, tuberculosis and other diseases.

Health and Social Development Minister Mikhail Zurabov trumpeted the HIV portion of the program as "an essential step forward."

Under the program, the state would provide medical treatment for 30,000 people living with HIV. "A couple years ago, only 700 people with HIV or AIDS could get treatment," Zurabov told the Cabinet while presenting the five-year program Thursday.