Testing Antibodies to Prevent HIV

Myron Cohen, MD, co-authored a perspective in Science about broadly neutralizing antibodies.

The journal Science published a perspective on Oct. 6, by two leading HIV investigators highlighting the next frontier of HIV prevention – broadly neutralizing antibodies or bnAbs.

Antibodies to HIV can be found in 25 percent of people living with the virus who are not on treatment, wrote perspective co-author Myron Cohen, MD, associate director of the UNC CFAR. These broadly neutralizing antibodies are now being tested for HIV prevention in the Antibody Mediated Prevention (AMP) study.

The AMP study will test the efficacy of antibody VRC01 in patients. Participants in the study will be given an intravenous infusion of the VRC01 antibody or a placebo 10 times, once every eight weeks.

Men who have sex with men, transgender women, and transgender men who have sex with men are eligible for the study. AMP is being conducted in North America, South America, and Africa. UNC is a site.

To learn more about bnAbs, read the perspective in Science. To watch a presentation Cohen gave about bnAbs on Oct. 13, visit our Friday Morning Conference archives.

PLOS Medicine Special Issue: Advances in HIV Prevention, Treatment and Cure

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The editors of PLOS Medicine are delighted to announce a forthcoming Special Issue focused on HIV research, along with guest editors Drs Linda-Gail Bekker, Steven Deeks and Sharon Lewin. Submissions are now being invited, with a deadline of June 9, 2017.

PLOS Medicine, the leading open access medical journal published by PLOS, welcomes submission of reports of high-quality research studies to be considered for publication in a special issue covering advances in the prevention, treatment and cure of HIV infection. This special issue, to be published at the end of 2017, will be guest edited by Dr Linda-Gail Bekker of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre, University of Cape Town; Dr Steven Deeks of the University of California, San Francisco; and Dr Sharon Lewin of the Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunity, University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital. Alongside research papers, the special issue will include commissioned content contributed by leaders in the field.

HIV infection continues to pose a critical risk to health in many countries, with 2.1 million people (including 150,000 children) estimated by UNAIDS to have been newly infected in 2015. Due to intensive efforts to diagnose and treat people with HIV, 18.2 million people were receiving antiretroviral therapy according to the most recent estimates. However, given an estimated total HIV-infected population of 36.7 million at the end of 2015, a substantial treatment gap leaves many millions of people at risk of AIDS-related diseases and, if unaware of their status, likely to infect others.

For this issue, the editors are inviting reports of high-quality research studies with the potential to inform clinical practice or thinking, focused on:

  • State of the global HIV epidemic—large-scale epidemiological studies addressing important topics, including progress towards UNAIDS’ 90-90-90 targets and the status of key populations
  • HIV prevention—clinical research aimed at development of vaccines, drugs and biomedical approaches
  • Clinical and epidemiological studies seeking to characterize and improve management of HIV infection and co-morbidities
  • Scientifically rigorous and practically relevant implementation research studies focused on HIV prevention and treatment, especially in low- and middle-income countries
  • Towards a cure for HIV infection—translational and clinical studies aiming to achieve control or elimination of HIV

Please submit your manuscript at: http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/s/submit-now. The deadline is June 9th, 2017.

Presubmission inquiries are not required, but do indicate your interest in the special issue in your cover letter. Questions about the special issue can be directed to plosmedicine@plos.org.

CFAR SBSRN 10th National Scientific Meeting

October 20-21st, 2016
Sonesta Coconut Grove
Miami, FL

Register for the event here.

The purpose of the CFAR SBSRN is to foster cross CFAR collaborations between behavioral and social scientists, to share strategies on how behavioral and social scientists communicate with basic scientists, to provide a forum for the exchange of the most recent information in the behavioral sciences regarding HIV/AIDS, and to mentor the next generation of behavioral social scientists.

Tar Heels go viral: UNC researchers featured on “This Week in Virology” podcast

Virologists with the UNC School of Medicine participated in last week’s on-campus recording of a popular virology podcast.

With a listening audience of millions people around the world, Dr. Vincent R. Racaniello, Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, drew quite a crowd last week when he recorded two podcasts from the UNC School of Medicine.

Blossom Damania, PhD, Boshamer Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Vice Dean for Research at the UNC School of Medicine, invited Racaniello to Chapel Hill to record his podcast, “This Week in Virology” (TWIV). Damania appeared on “TWiV” last year, when Racaniello hosted her as a seminar speaker at Columbia University.

“Vincent is a leader in the field of science communication and has been producing virology and other science podcasts for many years,” Damania said. “It was a real honor to have Vincent visit UNC Chapel Hill and feature the amazing virologists we have at UNC on his twin ‘TWiV’ shows.”

Featured researchers included: Dirk DittmerNat MoormanCary MoodyJennifer Webster-CyriaqueLishan SuNancy Raab-TraubRalph BaricMark HeiseKristina DeParisHelen LazearTal Kafri, and David Margolis.

Watch the two-part podcast here.