June 06, 2011 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Founded in 2003 on the occasion of the first "International Workshop on HIV Persistence, Reservoirs and Eradication Strategies" a dream team of researchers will come up with a road map towards HIV cure
later this year.
Globally, there are currently 33.3 million people living with HIV. Despite the availability of potent antiretroviral therapies, more than 7,100 new cases of infection still occur daily. In fact, new infections continue to outstrip numbers on treatment by 2 to 1 in resource-limited settings. Even for those who have access to antiretroviral therapy (ART), life-long ART is not plain sailing. There are problems of toxicity, side effects, compliance and resistance.
Although we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of AIDS
discovery, much remains to be done. Caring for HIV patients worldwide could treble over the next 20 years, reaching $50 to $60 billion a year.
ART can keep the virus suppressed to undetectable levels in blood, but it always persists dormant in some HIV reservoirs
explaining why each time ART is stopped, the infection rekindles. That is why Alain Lafeuillade, a French Doctor involved in HIV research, considered in 2003 that it would be the challenge of the 21st Century. He consequently founded a working group uniting researchers from all over the world that first met during an "International Workshop on HIV Persistence, Reservoirs and Eradication Strategies".
"At that time we were seen as utopists, Doctor Lafeuillade said, and quite ignored by funding agencies and pharmaceutical companies". But minds changed afterwards, and the 2009 meeting was supported by both the NIH (National Institutes of Health) and the ANRS (French Agency for AIDS Research).
In between 2 workshops, the group of scientists remains exchanging ideas and discoveries via a specialized website portal they have created.
"At the end of this year more than 200 scientists working on HIV cure will reconvene", Doctor Lafeuillade added. The program of this 5th workshop will encompass all areas of research, from in vitro models of HIV persistence to HIV eradication clinical trials. "Participants will be able to define a clear road map for HIV cure research with a precise agenda," Doctor Lafeuillade emphasized.
About the "HIV Persistence, Reservoirs and Eradication Strategies Workshop" Committees: founding fathers are Alain Lafeuillade (France), Mario Stevenson (USA), Robert Gallo (USA), Jose Gatell (Spain) and Christine Rouzioux (France). The scientific board contains David Margolis (USA), Jose Alcami (Spain), Tae-Wook Chun (USA), Mark Wainberg (Canada), Nicolas Chomont (USA), Monsef Benkirane (France), Fran?oise Barre-Sinoussi (France), Marie-Lise Gougeon (France)...
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