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HIV Detected in Mississippi Baby Who Appeared Cured

A child in Mississippi who had undetectable HIV viral load for more than 2 years off antiretroviral treatment and was heralded as a rare case of "functional cure" has been found to still be infected with the virus, researchers announced this week, tempering optimism about one cure research approach.

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People on First HIV Protease Inhibitor May Not Need to Switch After Single Treatment Failure

People with HIV who experience a single episode of virological failure while on their first protease inhibitor can safely stay on the same regimen without risk of disease progression, according to a study described in the May 19, advance edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

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HIV Cure Is a Major Priority, Research to be Presented at AIDS 2014

Finding a cure for HIV is a key scientific priority, and researchers have taken promising steps towards a "functional cure" that could enable some people with HIV to stay off antiretroviral therapy without disease progression. In the lead-up to the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014) later this month in Melbourne, The Lancet has published a review of the global epidemic and prospects for the future.

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Studies Explore Viral Reactivation Strategies for Potential HIV Cure

Compounds that increase random fluctuations or "noise" in HIV gene expression can help trigger reactivation of latent HIV in immune cells, one of the key barriers to a cure, researchers reported in the June 20 edition of Science. A related study identified another type of agent -- Ingenol B, derived from an Amazonian plant -- that reactivates latent HIV reservoirs, but another study found that one type of latency releaser may facilitate infection of CD4 cells.

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Janssen and ViiV to Develop NRTI-free Single-tablet Regimen

Janssen R&D and ViiV Healthcare announced last week that they will collaborate on the development of a dual single-tablet regimen containing the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) rilpivirine and the new integrase inhibitor dolutegravir, to be used as maintenance therapy for people who achieve viral suppression using a traditional regimen.

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Efavirenz Linked to Higher Suicide Risk, May Be Falling Out of Favor

The widely used NNRTI efavirenz was associated with a 2-fold increase in the likelihood of suicidal thoughts, attempted suicides, and suicide deaths, though the absolute risk remained small, according to a study described in the July 1 Annals of Internal Medicine. A related review article questioned whether efavirenz should still be considered a preferred option for initial HIV treatment, given its side effects and the development of equally effective and better-tolerated alternatives.

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Clinical Trial of Once-Daily Raltegravir Now Underway

Merck announced this week that treatment-naive participants are now being enrolled in the Phase 3 ONCEMRK trial, which is evaluating the efficacy and safety of a ne formulation of the HIV integrase inhibitor raltegravir (Isentress) taken once rather than twice daily.

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