New drug therapy cures hepatitis C in patients with HIV: Study

New drug therapy cures hepatitis C in patients with HIV

Scientists have revealed that a combination drug therapy cures chronic hepatitis C in the majority of patients co-infected with both HIV and hepatitis C.

In a phase III clinical trial, doctors administered ‘sofosbuvir’ and ‘ribavirin’ to a total of 223 HIV-1 patients chronically co-infected with hepatitis C (genotypes 1, 2 or 3) either for 12 weeks (for treatment-naive patients with genotype 2 or 3) or for 24 weeks (for treatment-naive patents with genotype 1 or treatment-experienced patents with genotype 2 or 3).

It was found that for treatment-naive patients, 76 percent with genotype 1, 88 percent with genotype 2 and 67 percent with genotype 3 were cured.

Researchers said that have always termed this to be ‘sustained virologic response but they now know that means hepatitis C has been cured.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Source: dna

US to invest $11 million to curb HIV

US to invest $11 million to curb HIV

The US government has reviewed the progress of the National HIV-AIDS Strategy in the past four years, and has announced new funding to fight the scourge, media reported Wednesday.

In a report released by the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services will invest $11 million to fund the Community Health Centres’ to help communities highly affected by HIV, Xinhua reported.

“This initiative, funded through the Affordable Care Act and the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund, aims to build sustainable partnerships between public health and health centres to help achieve the goals of the strategy,” the report said.

In addition, the government will expand investment in research to address gaps in the HIV Care Continuum, including investigations of the effectiveness of methods to identify HIV-infected people earlier and to provide them with necessary treatments.

On July 15, 2010, US President Barack Obama released the first comprehensive National HIV-AIDS Strategy.

This strategy envisions that “US will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination”.
Source: business

New cure found for HIV virus?


Scientists have discovered new vulnerable site on the HIV virus that can be attacked by human antibodies in a way that neutralizes the infectivity of a wide variety of HIV strains.

The researchers from Scripps Research Institute Scientists working with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative said that an effective vaccine would work by eliciting a strong and long-lasting immune response against vulnerable conserved sites on the virus-sites that don’t vary much from strain to strain, and that, when grabbed by an antibody, leave the virus unable to infect cells.

Dennis R. Burton, professor in TSRI’s Department of Immunology and Microbial Science, said that HIV has very few known sites of vulnerability, but in this work we’ve described a new one, and we expect it will be useful in developing a vaccine.

The study was published in the journal Immunity.

Source: Yahoo news

US reports rare case of woman-to-woman HIV transmission

A rare case of suspected HIV transmission from one woman to another was reported Thursday by US health authorities.

The 46-year-old woman “likely acquired” human immunodeficiency virus while in a monogamous relationship with an HIV-positive female partner in Texas, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The woman, whose name was not released, had engaged in heterosexual relationships in the past, but not in the 10 years prior to her HIV infection.

Her HIV-positive partner, a 43-year-old woman who first tested positive in 2008, was her only sexual partner in the six months leading up to the test that came back positive for HIV.

She did not report any other risk factors for acquiring the virus that causes AIDS, such as injection drug use, organ transplant, tattoos, acupuncture or unprotected sex with multiple partners.

The strain of HIV with which she was infected was a 98 percent genetic match to her partner’s, said the CDC in its weekly report.

Authorities first learned of the case in August 2012 from the Houston Department of Health.

The couple said they had not received any counseling about safe sex practices, and reported that they routinely had sex without barrier methods.

“They described their sexual contact as at times rough to the point of inducing bleeding in either woman,” said the CDC report.

“They also reported having unprotected sexual contact during the menses of either partner.”

The partner who was infected since 2008 had been prescribed antiretroviral drugs in 2009 but stopped taking them in November 2010, and was lost to follow up in January 2011.

The CDC warned that although such cases are rare, “female-to-female transmission is possible because HIV can be found in vaginal fluid and menstrual blood.”

People with HIV should be under the care of a doctor and take their prescribed medicines to keep their viral load down and reduce the risk of infecting a partner, the CDC said.

Very few cases of this kind have been documented, and confirmation “has been difficult because other risk factors almost always are present or cannot be ruled out,” said the report.

One survey of 960,000 female blood donors found 144 who tested positive for HIV and were therefore blocked from donating.

Of 106 of those women who agreed to interviews, none described female-to-female sexual contact as their only risk factor.

The CDC also described one case of a woman in the Philippines who tested positive for HIV and said she had sex only with women and did not inject drugs, though no source of infection could be confirmed.

One other case is known of a 20-year-old woman who was diagnosed with HIV after a two-year monogamous relationship with a female partner who was HIV positive. While both women had the same drug-resistant HIV mutations, no tests were done to identify if their HIV strains were a genetic match.

Source: Yahoo news

New vaginal gel could help protect women against HIV

Researchers have revealed that a new after-sex vagina gel can be used by women to protect themselves against HIV.

According to scientists at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, drugs applied three hours after exposure to the virus could protect female monkeys from a type of HIV, the BBC reported.

that this study would require large clinical trials to test any new treatment and that condoms still remain the best defense against HIV.

Scientists found that the gel protected five out of six monkeys from an animal-human laboratory strain of HIV, when it was applied before or three hours after infection.

Dr Charles Dobard, of the division of HIV/Aids prevention, said that the gel used is a promising after-sex vaginal gel to prevent HIV infection and studies still need to look for the window of opportunity.

Dr Andrew Freedman, reader and consultant in infectious diseases at Cardiff University School of Medicine, said that the gel contained a different class of anti- HIV drug, which attacks the virus at a later stage in infection.

The study is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Source: Zee news

New contraceptive ring aims to protect against both pregnancy and HIV


For decades, the condom has been the only form of contraceptive widely used to prevent both unplanned pregnancies and the transmission of HIV.

Now, researchers at Northwestern University have come up with a new option: An intravaginal ring that helps prevent pregnancy while simultaneously releasing low doses of an antiretroviral drug that reduces a woman’s risk of contracting both HIV and genital herpes.

Patrick Kiser, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern, devised the ring with the hopes that it would offer women more control over both disease and pregnancy prevention.

“The field of HIV prevention is really moving towards these long-acting drug delivery systems that require less user intervention, which is great because sex is episodic and exposure to [HIV] is episodic,” Kiser told “And because you don’t know when you’re going to be exposed, or even necessarily when you’re going to have sex, it’s better to…have protective measures on board at all time.”

Kiser and his team at Northwestern spent five years developing the two-inch ring, which releases doses of the contraceptive levonorgestrel and the common antiretroviral HIV medication tenofovir after being inserted in the vagina. Similarly to the NuvaRing, women can insert the device on their own. Women can then leave the ring in for up to 90 days, removing it briefly for cleaning if necessary.

Creating a device capable of releasing the proper doses of both the contraceptive and antiretroviral drugs posed a unique obstacle to researchers.

“The dose of contraceptive is very low – 10 micrograms per day, whereas with the antiviral drug we’re delivering is about 10 milligrams a day,” Kiser said. “That’s a thousand times different in terms of the amount being delivered for each drug and that was a real engineering challenge to develop a device that could achieve those extreme ranges of drug delivery.”

Eventually, they created a ring composed of three types of plastic tubing capable of releasing the appropriate doses of each medication contained within the device.

The medications used in the device both have a proven history of being both safe and effective. Levonorgestrel, which thickens a woman’s cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the uterus, is widely used in popular forms of birth control like Mirena.

Source; Fox news

Nine-month-old baby may have been cured of HIV

A 9-month-old baby who was born in California with the HIV virus that leads to AIDS may have been cured as a result of treatments that doctors began just four hours after her birth, medical researchers said on Wednesday.

That child is the second case, following an earlier instance in Mississippi, in which doctors may have brought HIV in a newborn into remission by administering antiretroviral drugs in the first hours of life, said Dr. Deborah Persaud, a pediatrics specialist with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, at a medical conference in Boston.

“The child … has become HIV-negative,” Persaud said, referring to the 9-month-old baby born outside Los Angeles, who is being treated at Miller Children’s Hospital. The child’s identify was not disclosed.

That child is still receiving a three-drug cocktail of anti-AIDS treatments, while the child born in Mississippi, now 3-1/2 years old, ceased receiving antiretroviral treatments two years ago.

Both children were born of mothers infected with HIV, which wipes out the body’s immune system and causes AIDS.

Speaking at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, Persaud credited the early use of antiretroviral therapies with improving the children’s health but warned that more research must be done.

“Really the only way we can prove that we have accomplished remission in these kids is by taking them off treatment and that’s not without risk,” Persaud said. “This is a call to action for us to mobilize and be able to learn from these cases.”

The human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, surfaced more than 30 years ago and now infects more than 34 million people worldwide. Prevention measures, including condoms, have helped check its spread and antiretroviral drugs can now control the disease for decades, meaning it is no longer a death sentence.

Source: Reuters


South African scientists map HIV antibodies in vaccine hunt

Scientists in South Africa have mapped the evolution of an antibody that kills different strains of the HIV virus, which might yield a vaccine for the incurable disease, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases said on Monday.

The scientists have been studying one woman’s response to HIV infection from stored samples of her blood and isolated the antibodies that she developed, said Lynn Morris, head of the virology unit at the NICD.

The study, by a consortium of scientists from the NICD, local universities and the U.S. Vaccine Research Centre of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was published in the journal Nature.

Humans respond to HIV by producing antibodies to fight the virus. In most cases, the antibodies do not neutralize, or kill, different strains of the virus. But a few known as “broadly neutralizing antibodies” are able to break through a protective layer around the HIV virus and kill it.

“The outer covering of HIV has a coating of sugars that prevents antibodies from reaching the surface to neutralize the virus. In this patient, we found that her antibodies had ‘long arms’, which enabled them to reach through the sugar coat that protects HIV,” Penny Moore, one of the lead scientists, said in a statement.

The researchers had been able to clone the antibodies and would test if they were able to give immunity to a person without the virus, Morris said.

Human tests were at least two years away, she said.

“We are going to test them first on monkeys and if it works on monkeys we will go on to humans,” she said.

South Africa carries the world’s heaviest HIV/AIDS case load with 6 million people infected with the virus, more than 10 percent of the population.

Source: Reuters

Egypt claims miracle cure for HIV and Hepatitis

Two days ago, Egyptian media began big campaigns about a miraculous device (billed as ”Complete Cure”) invented by Egypt’s armed forces for treating HIV/AIDS and the Hepatitis C virus.

The news stories depicted the machine as a breakthrough, and a real miracle for completely curing patients of any of the two resistant diseases, giving hope for 18 million Egyptians with Hepatitis C and tens of thousands with HIV. (All this in no time at all — only 16 hours for the cure and one minute for detecting the disease.)

According to the Egyptian media, with the device there is no need to take a sample of the patient’s blood to detect the infection. Moreover, Egypt’s national TV channels ran a video that showed a physician making tests for an HIV patient using the device and telling him, “your tests are so great; you had HIV but now the disease vanished.”

The reports said that ”Complete Cure” is two machines in one: ”C Fast” (for treating Hepatitis C) and “I Fast” (for treating HIV). Furthermore, the reports confirmed that the military had been working for 22 years on the project and although ”C Fast” had been ready to go since 2006, the inventing team preferred to wait until it could test the effectiveness of the machine on HIV patients.

There’s even more. Major Dr. Ibrahim Abdel-Atti, leader of the machine-inventing team, stressed that Egypt will not export the machine to other countries so that it can be protected from international monopoly and the black market. He was quoted in the Al-Ahram newspaper as saying, “Marshal el-Sisi once said, ”we lagged behind and we should jump rather than walk so that we can compete with others”, and this is the first jump.”

The strange thing is, the media stresses that the device can also treat swine flu or H1N1, a disease that has taken many Egyptian lives over the past few weeks.

The media message is, of course, clear: We can depend only on Egypt’s armed forces; they’re the hope; they’re the people who can meet all our needs; they’re the men of impossible missions; they’re the best to lead Egypt in the coming years; they’re the best in the world; they’re big scholars and hard workers; they spare no effort to develop Egypt and improve the lives of its people.

They worked for 22 years for a machine that can make Egyptians happy. In short, the leader of Egypt must be a military man (in particular, Marshal Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi).

This kind of propaganda reminds us of old campaigns about the military’s invention of two inter-continental missiles: Zafer and Qaher, during Abdel-Nasser’s and Saddat’s era.

The two rockets were said to be able to reach to the depths of Israel. During that time, the media depicted this as if it was a nuclear bomb that could deter any threats to Egypt.

However, General Saad Ed-Dien el-Shazli mentioned in his diaries later that this was just propaganda and the two missiles were in fact ineffective and had no destructive power. El-Shazli stressed that he was shocked every time the media told lies about the two missiles and every time Saddat threatened America and Israel with using them.

In the current period, ordinary Egyptians are building mountainous hopes on such new devices and think that, with them, they can find light at the end of the tunnel.

The large majority of comments in the news describe the machine as a blessing and a gift from God, and many happy people have wondered aloud in the media about when the machine will be available in the hospitals. Many have been seen expressing their gratitude for the military and Marshal el-Sisi.

Source: the commentator

Twin U.S. studies unlock mystery of how HIV causes AIDS

U.S. scientists have discovered the basic mechanisms that allow HIV to wipe out the body’s immune system and cause AIDS, which could lead to new approaches to treatment and research for a cure for the disease that affects 35 million people around the world.

Instead of actively killing immune system cells known as CD4 T cells, much of the damage done by HIV occurs when the virus tries to invade these cells and fails, triggering an innate immune response that causes the cells to self-destruct in a fiery kind of cell suicide known as pyroptosis.

The findings, published simultaneously in the scientific journals Science and Nature, also suggest that an experimental anti-inflammatory drug owned by Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc that has already been tested in people with epilepsy could be repurposed as a possible new treatment for AIDS.

“Our papers deal with the fundamental issue that causes AIDS, and that is the loss of CD4 T cells,” said Dr Warner Greene of the Gladstone Institutes, an independent biomedical research nonprofit based in San Francisco, whose lab produced the research in both papers.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said the papers offer an “elegant” solution to a question that has eluded scientists since the virus was first identified in 1983.

Greene said for years, scientists had thought that HIV killed immune system cells by infecting them directly, hijacking their DNA machinery and turning them into virus-producing factories.

But this only happens to a small portion of CD4 T cells. In a series of experiments in human spleen, tonsil and lymph node tissues from HIV-infected patients, the Gladstone scientists discovered that the real damage of HIV infection occurs in so-called “bystander cells,” the most common type of CD4 T cell.

These cells are in a resting state, so when the virus attacks, it is unable to hijack them, and aborts the attempt.

But the damage is done. These so-called abortively infected immune cells release a protein that activates an enzyme called caspase-1, which causes the highly inflammatory form of cell suicide, pyroptosis.

“The cell is committing suicide in a vain attempt to protect the host,” Greene said. “The abortive process releases a call for help from new CD4 cells, who then fall victim to this fiery death.”

In the paper published in Science, the Gladstone team identified a mechanism that detects the damaged cells and triggers this cell death pathway.

“This idea that CD4 depletion is more of a cellular suicide than it is a murder by the virus is a new and important concept,” Greene said.

In the paper published in Nature, the team explored the implications of blocking this cellular suicide with experiments using anti-inflammatory drugs that block the caspase-1 enzyme, including the Vertex drug VX-765.

Greene said the company tested the treatment in patients with a chronic seizure disorder who would not respond to normal anti-epileptics, but the effect was not strong enough to continue development.

What they did find in a six-week clinical trial in people is that the drug was safe and well-tolerated.

“We would like to see if that drug could be repurposed to prevent inflammation in CD4 T cell loss in HIV infection,” Greene said.

Gladstone is in talks with Vertex to gain access to the drug for clinical trials as a potential new treatment for HIV infection. Such a drug could have three potential applications.

It could be used globally as a stop-gap treatment for the 16 million individuals who are infected with HIV but do not have access to antiretroviral therapy or ART, the highly effective medicines that keep HIV from replicating in the body.

Because the drug fights the inflammatory response linked with HIV infection, it might also be useful in addition to ART as a way of preventing the long-term consequences of HIV infection, such as early dementia, heart attacks and cancer.

Greene thinks the drug might even be useful in the research for an HIV cure, helping to flush out parts of the virus that go into hiding and cause the infection to start up again once people stop taking antiretroviral therapy.

At this point, all of these potential uses are theoretical, Fauci said. “It still remains to be seen what the ultimate practical usage of this is, but nonetheless, it’s still a significant paper.”

Greene said his team is in negotiations with Vertex for access to its drug, and hopes to come to an agreement soon as to how to proceed. “For the benefit of HIV-infected individuals, this merits testing.”

Source: IBN Money