IAVI REPORT – VOL. 17, NO. 3, 2013
A good deal has changed since US and Thai researchers showed the world in 2009 that HIV can be prevented by vaccination, fueling much excitement and follow-up study. The field has, for one thing, made considerable headway in unraveling the immunology of the modest protection observed in that trial. Meanwhile, other new preventive tools—such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and microbicides—have come into their own and irrevocably altered the landscape of AIDS vaccine development. Cure research has surged in parallel, bringing a new kind of hope to those who were certain they’d live out their lives with HIV.
We touch on many of these developments in this issue of IAVI Report. Ourlead story profiles the HIV vaccine research unit of the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences in Bangkok, which conducted the Thai trial. It covers what vaccinologists there are doing now to build on the nominal protection observed in the landmark study. The story also details how research in Thailand into acute infection and early treatment is advancing progress toward a functional cure for HIV.
Our other feature explores whether PrEP, now a proven method of HIV prevention, can be designed to work in the real world. Perhaps the biggest barrier to this goal is adherence—getting uninfected people at high risk for HIV infection to take pills that will mitigate that risk, and to take them every day for a long, long time. The feature describes how researchers hope to overcome this rather steep challenge in a number of PrEP demonstration projects that are planned or already underway.
Which brings us to Regina McEnery, the author of that report. After more than five years writing for IAVI Report and its sister publication, VAX, Regina has, for reasons we cannot fathom, up and left us to live in Massachusetts. We already miss her, but she has promised to stay in touch—and to keep reading us online.
We think this is an excellent idea. In fact, we think it’s so good that we’d like to encourage everyone to do the same. So, please, visit IAVIReport.org, and come back frequently. Like us on Facebook. Tweet our blogs. Tell your mom, dad, coffee guy, and anyone else you can think of to read us online. Seriously. We like putting out this report and would like to know that people know we’re here. So, please, follow Regina’s lead and do stay in touch.