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IAS 2011: Stakeholders Call for HIV Cure Research

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Over the past few years a cure for HIV has again become a goal of HIV/AIDS research. The International AIDS Society is a leading proponent of greater investment in cure-related science.

Below is an edited excerpt from an IAS press release describing the Rome Statement, which seeks support for more cure funding and collaboration.

Monday, 18 July, 2011 (Rome, Italy) -- Members of the Advisory Board for a global scientific strategy “Towards an HIV Cure” today launched the Rome Statement for an HIV Cure calling for an acceleration of HIV cure research. The announcement was made at the 6th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2011) currently being held in Rome.

Recent scientific advances in HIV research have led to a re-emergence of interest and optimism in prospects of at least a functional cure for HIV. The development of a functional cure which, without completely eliminating the virus from the body, would permanently suppress its replication and considerably diminish viral reservoirs, possibly leading to the long-term remission of patients.

Under the auspices of the International AIDS Society, a group of internationally recognized scientists and stakeholders is guiding the development of a global scientific strategy “Towards an HIV Cure”. The strategy aims at building a global consensus on the state of HIV reservoirs research and defining scientific priorities that need to be addressed by future research to tackle HIV persistence in patients undergoing antiretroviral therapy. The strategy will be presented at the XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) which will be held in Washington DC from 22-27 July 2012. (1)

The International Scientific Working Group is co-chaired by Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, IAS President-Elect and 2008 Nobel Laureate for Medicine, and Professor Steve Deeks, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Positive Health Program (AIDS Program) at San Francisco General Hospital. The working group works closely with an advisory board composed of leading advocates and major research stakeholders in HIV cure, including representatives of people living with HIV and funders and clinicians from high prevalence settings. The Advisory Board is co-chaired by Prof. Barré-Sinoussi and Dr. Jack Whitescarver, Associate Director for AIDS Research and Director of the Office of AIDS Research at the National Institutes of Health.

“While there is certainly a high level of interest being expressed about finding a functional HIV cure (2), it can only be achieved through an increased and concerted international effort engaging not only the scientific community but all stakeholders involved in the HIV/AIDS response and global health,” said Professor Barré-Sinoussi.

“Partnership and collaboration are critical to the efforts to find an HIV cure,” said Dr. Whitescarver. “We need not only the finest minds but the very best in scientific alliances.”

Today’s Rome Statement for an HIV Cure lists the following three key objectives:

  • recognizing the importance of developing a safe, accessible and scalable HIV cure as a therapeutic and preventive strategy against HIV infection and to help control the AIDS epidemic.
  • committing to stimulating international and multidisciplinary research collaborations in the field of HIV cure research.
  • encouraging other stakeholders, international leaders and organizations to contribute to accelerating HIV cure research through their own initiatives and/or by endorsing this statement and supporting the alliance that the Advisory Board is  building.

Board members, including co-chairs Professor Barré-Sinoussi and Dr. Whitescarver, have officially endorsed the statement.

Individuals and organizations wishing to sign the statement can do so by clicking here.

7/19/11

Source

International AIDS Society. Launch of the Rome statement for an HIV Cure. Press release. July 18, 2011.