IAVI REPORT – VOL. 21, NO. 4, 2017
Nine years ago this month, we launched the redesigned IAVI Report. It was a major overhaul, introducing a new format, more varied content, and featuring our first full-color cover image. Ever since, we’ve collected and featured an array of images related to HIV on our cover. They are both striking and scientifically relevant as they are helping researchers understand more precisely how the virus behaves.
The image that graced that first cover is still one of my favorites. It showed an HIV-infected dendritic cell in the process of forming a virologic synapse, through which it would transfer HIV to a CD4+ T cell. Even though it obviously depicts a static moment in time, it feels active. The CD4+ T cell is being lured by a virus-infected cell, the synapse shown in a smear of red that seems to foretell the cell’s future destruction.
That cover was provided courtesy of Thomas Hope, professor of cell and molecular biology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. His lab continues to churn out alluring images of HIV’s interactions and we are thrilled to feature another one of his group’s images on this issue’s cover. This one reminds me of an undersea landscape and is yet another example of how science makes great art. We also have an interview with Hope in this issue in which he discusses his team’s contributions to the development of a long-acting HIV prevention strategy meant to bridge the gap until a future vaccine should become available.
In a related story, a new writer to IAVI Report, Max Dorfman, profiles Marianne W. Mureithi, who apprenticed in Hope’s laboratory in Chicago and is now a chief research scientist at the Kenya AIDS Vaccine Initiative. Mureithi is one of many young African researchers who have returned home after studies abroad to contribute to ending the epidemic that has cost them so much personally.
In another feature, we provide an update on a topic the HIV vaccine field is currently grappling with—the possibility of conducting a vaccine trial in a pediatric population. The issue is not a new one but recent scientific findings, both in humans and animals, are causing researchers and funders to consider this possibility with renewed urgency. We also delve into the growing threat of antiretroviral resistance in developing countries and how this is raising concerns among public health experts about the fragility of the AIDS response and the need for improved prevention. This is undoubtedly an issue that will warrant consideration from Peter Sands, the newly appointed executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Finally, as this year draws to a close, our team at IAVI Report would like to wish all of you a healthy, peaceful, and joyous new year. Year after year we are inspired and amazed by the innovative science we get to write about, the personal motivation that drives scientists and advocates toward an HIV vaccine, and the extraordinary commitment of those working tirelessly to end AIDS.
—Kristen Jill Kresge