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Issue No. 21 | May 16, 2008

News and Features

Important Information about Nelfinavir from the HHS Panel on Antiretroviral Therapy Guidelines for Adults & Adolescents

On September 10, 2007, Pfizer informed prescribers of potential concerns related to the presence of ethyl methane sulfonate (EMS) in Viracept (nelfinavir). At that time, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked Pfizer to implement an interim specification to limit the presence of EMS in nelfinavir mesylate used in Viracept (nelfinavir) while working toward a long-term specification.

As of March 31, 2008, all Viracept (nelfinavir) manufactured and released by Pfizer now meets the new final EMS limits established by the FDA for prescribing to all patient populations. The January 29, 2008, update of the Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in HIV-1-Infected Adults and Adolescents has been revised to reflect this development; passages referring to concerns about EMS levels in Viracept (nelfinavir) have been removed.

New Therapeutic Vaccine Effective in Monkeys

Researchers recently determined that treatment with a therapeutic vaccine using overlapping peptide-pulsed autologous cells (OPAL) is effective in increasing the immune response against simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in macaque monkeys. The immunotherapy study consisted of injecting 36 SIV-infected monkeys with autologous blood cells exposed to SIV peptides. Seven immunizations were administered over 6 months, and the best results were achieved when the therapy was introduced soon after infection.

Viral loads in the monkeys receiving the vaccine dropped approximately 10 times compared to the control group, resulting in a significant delay in AIDS-related deaths. Future trials for this immunotherapy technique in HIV-infected humans are anticipated.

HIV Vaccine Awareness Day: May 18, 2008

May 18, 2008 marks the 11th annual observance of HIV Vaccine Awareness Day.  HIV Vaccine Awareness Day is dedicated to recognizing HIV vaccine research efforts and educating communities about the importance of developing an HIV vaccine. 

More information is available:

National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: May 19, 2008

May 19, 2008 marks the fourth annual National Asian and Pacific Islander (API) HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This is a day is dedicated to increasing awareness of HIV/AIDS in the API community. The goals of National API HIV/AIDS Awareness Day are to educate the API community about HIV/AIDS and its transmission, to promote HIV testing, to motivate HIV-infected APIs to seek proper treatment, and to encourage people to get involved in their communities and combat HIV-related stigmas and discrimination.

More information is available: