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Issue No. 37 | September 5, 2008

News and Features

NIAID: Link Found Between Apobec3 and HIV-Neutralizing Antibody Response

"Antibodies are key to warding off viral infections, and most vaccines against viral diseases stimulate the body to make antibodies against the target virus. Yet no one knows how to make a vaccine that artificially stimulates the production of antibodies that can readily neutralize HIV, largely because so few HIV-infected people naturally exhibit this immune activity. The new finding about Apobec3 suggests that this gene may influence anti-HIV antibody production and may help explain why some people who are repeatedly exposed to the virus never become infected."

For more information, read the full NIAID press release.

NIDA: Recipients of Avant-Garde Award for Innovative HIV/AIDS Research Announced

"The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, today announced the first three recipients of its new Avant-Garde Award. This award is intended to stimulate high-impact research that may lead to groundbreaking opportunities for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS in drug abusers. Award recipients will receive $500,000 per year for five years to support their research."

For more information, read the full NIDA press release.

FDA: Ritonavir Label Updated

"FDA approved, on August 29, 2008, changes to the product label for Norvir (ritonavir) Soft Gelatin Capsules, and Norvir Oral Solution reflecting new, post marketing information regarding QT/QTc interval and PR interval prolongation information from Study M06-80. 

The patient package insert has been updated, as well, with language related to electrocardiogram changes and cardiac arrhythmias."

For more information, read the FDA press release or the AIDSinfo ritonavir drug fact sheet.

WHO: Circumcision Problems Impair HIV Prevention

"A World Health Organization (WHO) study released Monday raises doubts about the rapid implementation of male circumcision as a strategy to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa, where researchers found 'shocking' rates of complications from the procedure. Studies have shown that male circumcision reduces the risk of female-to-male HIV infection by up to 70 percent."

For more information, read the full story.

Study Identifies Proteins Linked to HIV Immunity in Women

"Novel tools are necessary to understand mechanisms of altered susceptibility to HIV-1 infection in women of the Pumwani Sex Worker cohort, Kenya. In this cohort, more than 140 of the 2000 participants have been characterized to be relatively resistant to HIV-1 infection. Given that sexual transmission of HIV-1 occurs through mucosal surfaces such as that in the cervicovaginal environment, our hypothesis is that innate immune factors in the genital tract may play a role in HIV-1 infection resistance."

For more information, read the
study abstract.