IAVI REPORT – VOL. 16, NO. 2, 2012

Vol. 16, No. 2 - Mar.-Apr. 2012Cover Art

When managing editor Kristen Jill Kresge informed her staff that she was leaving the editing of IAVI Report in my hands while she went off to have a baby, I imagine their response was, well, polite. Or maybe not: Kristen is, as subscribers to this magazine doubtless know, a tough act to follow, even temporarily. Fortunately for me, she had the grace—and good sense—to plan out the issue before she went on leave. 

Aware that major HIV conferences were looming, Kristen dispatched her reporters to cover them. You will notice that they did so with gusto. Our sweeping report from the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) may not qualify as light summer reading, but it does have a little something for everybody (see A Slew of Science in Seattle). It recounts how researchers are harnessing new technologies to solve the structure of the recalcitrant HIV spike, and shares insights gleaned from the continuing analysis of samples collected during the RV144 trial, which demonstrated for the first time that a vaccine can prevent HIV transmission. Another segment delves into similar analyses of trials evaluating antiretroviral treatment as a mode of prevention. For those with an appetite for basic biology, the article includes absorbing descriptions of HIV’s interaction with an elusive subclass of T helper cells, and research parsing the evolution of HIV’s intracellular defenses. 

Our articles on the Keystone Symposia this season are much more focused. We felt that broadly neutralizing antibodies stole the limelight at the Keystone HIV Vaccines meeting, and that’s reflected in our report (see Tapping the Sanguine Humor). The article takes a tour through the structural, biochemical, and genetic analyses of these potent molecules, and details how the latest findings are inspiring new HIV vaccine strategies. The story out of the Keystone meeting on HIV Pathogenesis, meanwhile, pivots to the search for a cure for HIV (see Stalking HIV's Sleeper Cells). It relates progress in efforts to locate and eradicate latent HIV sequestered in cells, and covers clinical studies that seek to safely replicate the conditions that cured Timothy Brown—the only person known to have cleared an HIV infection. 

If all this isn’t enough science for you, the issue has its usual complement of Research Briefs. If it is, we also have stories on new treatment guidelines from the WHO, and the appointment of a new director for the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise (see Vaccine Briefs).

Kristen may have planned out this issue, but I’ve certainly enjoyed editing it. I hope you will take as much pleasure in its perusal.

—Unmesh Kher