Monday, September 7, 2009

MSI Microbicides Monitor: 1-7 September 2009

MSI Microbicides Monitor: 1-7 September 2009
Issue 4
Monday, 7 September 2009

The MSI Microbicides Monitor provides a weekly snapshot of major news pieces on microbicides research, advocacy and development from around the world, including news highlights from countries where clinical trials are taking place, and links to major microbicides-related events or other advocacy opportunities. This is issue 4 (1-7 September 2009):

The perils of success: What if the new HIV prevention methods work?
(Source: AIDSmap)
Within a couple of years' time, we may know if two crucial new HIV prevention approaches will work. If they do, what then? Who will pay for them, who will use them, and will their use have a positive or negative impact on the epidemic? A debate at the International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference in Cape Town in July, sponsored by the IAS and the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC) looked at how to prepare for microbicides and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

To remind you, a microbicide is a substance that can be incorporated into a lubricant, gel or barrier such as a diaphragm that will stop HIV transmission during sex. And PrEP is the concept of HIV-negative people taking anti-HIV drugs in advance of sex (or needle-sharing) to prevent HIV.

Over the next three years or so, crucial trials of these new prevention methods will announce their results. In 2010, we’ll have results from the biggest microbicide trial to date, the Microbicides Development Partnership trial of PRO2000 gel, followed by results from a US trial, too small to produce a definitive result, of PrEP in gay men.

By 2011 we'll know about tenofovir PrEP in Thai drug users, tenofovir/FTC PrEP in South American gay men, and tenofovir gel as a microbicide in South Africa. 2012 will offer PrEP results from men and women in Africa, and from a comparison trial of tenofovir as a microbicide and PrEP. And 2013 will see the end of HPTN052, a lengthy trial aiming for a definitive answer on whether treating everyone with HIV would stop onward transmission.

New prevention methods in HIV have had setbacks in the last few years, after the Merck HIV vaccine and a microbicide (cellulose sulphate) actually increased the risk of acquiring HIV. But following a promising result for the microbicide PRO2000 announced earlier this year, prevention advocates are daring to believe that positive results could be on their way. UNAIDS' chief epidemiologist, Catherine Hankins, commented: "I've got more of my chips down for PRO2000 than I did. We need to anticipate success and plan a very careful communication strategy." Read more

Molecular condom blocks HIV
(Source: Ethiopian Review)
Scientists have been working on microbicide gels for HIV for more than a decade. This type of prophylactic, which women could use without relying on their partners, is of particular interest in areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa, where HIV-infection rates are high and use of condoms is relatively low. But development has been slow–a number of products have failed clinical trials. Most of the topical microbicides being tested for HIV prevention contain antiviral drugs designed to block replication of the virus once it infects a cell. The new gel, which is being developed by Patrick Kiser and colleagues at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, acts at the first stage of infection–when the virus moves from semen to the surface of vaginal tissue. Read more

The battle in Uganda over female condoms
(Source: Ethiopian Review)
On the surface, it seems like a fine idea; reproductive-rights groups certainly think so. In July the Ugandan government announced that, using cash from the U.N. Population Fund, it would distribute 100,000 female condoms in a bid to stop a resurgence of HIV/AIDS. Advocates cheered the initiative, saying it would give women more control over their bodies. But in the weeks since, major funders of HIV/AIDS-prevention programs have shown far less enthusiasm, with many deciding not to back the plan. Instead of serving as a surefire weapon against the spread of HIV, Uganda's female-condoms initiative has become the latest example of the limitations faced by governments, advocacy groups and donors in the fight against the virus. Read more

IPM welcomes new COO and CHRO
(Source: International Partnership for Microbicides - IPM)
IPM announces two important additions to its strategic team: Mike Goldrich, former Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), has joined IPM as COO. Mr. Goldrich is responsible for providing strategic guidance to the IPM senior leadership team, and works collaboratively to manage operations across the organisation and within IPM’s global partner networks.

Kathleen T. Ross, former Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Arbitron, has joined IPM as CHRO. Ms. Ross is responsible for IPM's talent and organisational strategies, including staffing, retention and employee development; compensation, benefits and employee relations; and management, leadership and organisation development.

"Achieving IPM’s mission to develop and ensure access to safe and effective microbicides — and to support broader HIV prevention goals — hinges on the strength of our organisational capacity and leadership team," Dr. Zeda Rosenberg, Chief Executive Officer of IPM, said. "The expertise Mike and Kathleen bring will ensure that strategic growth within the organisation is skillfully carried out." Read more

Upcoming events related to Microbicides
GCM - Microbicides Research Literacy Training (to be announced - Africa): December 2009
Microbicides International Conference, 2010 - Building bridges in HIV Prevention, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, USA (22-25 May 2010)

Produced and disseminated by Citizen News Service (CNS) for Microbicides Society of India (MSI)


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