Advances in the Battle Against HIV/AIDS to be Highlighted at CROI 2017

Vaccines against HIV/AIDS enter a new era.
Vaccines against HIV/AIDS enter a new era.

We may finally be getting closer to the development of an effective HIV vaccine. New studies to be presented this coming week (February 13-16, 2017) in Seattle at the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) will highlight the significant progress being made in vaccines against infectious diseases, including HIV and Zika virus. The meeting will bring together top basic, translational, and clinical researchers from around the world. Be sure to visit Infectious Disease Advisor for daily news coverage from the conference throughout the week.

The meeting will also highlight the best research methods in the ongoing battle against HIV/AIDS and related infectious diseases. CROI is a global model of collaborative science and the premier international venue for bridging basic and clinical investigation to clinical practice in the field of HIV and related viruses. Susan Buchbinder, MD, who is chair of the Scientific Program Committee for CROI 2017 and director of Bridge HIV at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said this year's meeting is taking place at a particularly interesting time in the field.

"We are expecting important studies illuminating the public health impact of the scale-up of treatment and prevention, both in the United States and in resource-limited countries, as well as breakthroughs in the management of tuberculosis [TB] and HIV coinfection, including with multidrug-resistant TB," Dr Buchbinder told Infectious Diseases Advisor.

She said several studies this year will examine simplified treatment regimens. It is hoped that the data will lead to regimens that have the potential to make simpler and more effective HIV treatment available to many more people in need. Dr Buchbinder, who is an associate clinical professor of medicine, epidemiology, and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, said one of the CROI plenary sessions will focus on progress being made in vaccines against HIV and Zika virus.

"Vaccine science is moving forward on several fronts, although the trials to test those concepts are in early stages. We'll learn about broadly neutralizing antibody approaches currently being tested in sister trials in men and transgender women in North and South America, and in a second trial in women in sub-Saharan Africa, and a vaccine trial (known as HVTN 702 [ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02968849]) just launched in South Africa that builds on the success of the Thai RV144 vaccine study (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00223080), said Dr Buchbinder.

She said the results from these trials will not be available for several years. However, the data presented on the science behind those trials will be a focus for many attendees at CROI 2017. The CROI Foundation partners with the International Antiviral Society–USA in organizing the conference, and 4200 attendees are expected. Some of the research that will be presented includes discovery of novel potent HIV capsid inhibitors with long-acting potential.

The Zika virus presentations will include Gabriela Paz-Bailey, MD, PhD, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, who will be addressing how long Zika virus persists in body fluids. Maud Mavigner, PhD, from Emory University in Atlanta, will address the neurologic consequences of postnatal Zika virus infection in infants, and Michael J. Hogan, from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, will update attendees on data involving a single low-dose nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccine against Zika virus.

Reference

RV144 Trial. US Military HIV Research Program. Available at: http://www.hivresearch.org/rv144-trial. Accessed February 6, 2017.

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