NEWS ON THE FIGHT FOR BETTER TREATMENT, A VACCINE, AND A CURE FOR AIDS
TAG at Ten: 1992-2002
Timeline of TAG's first ten years.
TB-HIV Coinfection Education and Community Mobilization Workshop, 2002
On October 5, 2002, Treatment Action Group (TAG) sponsored a TB/HIV Coinfection workshop in Montreal attended by 29 people. Eighteen participants were from the developing world, principally from sub-Saharan Africa, but also from Brazil, eastern Europe and India. The workshop included presentations on tuberculosis epidemiology, natural history, and treatment; HIV disease and treatment; strategies for coordinating TB and HIV medical care and services; and community mobilization models and strategies.
Basic Science Review
This is the first in a series of periodic reviews of the scientific literature that the Basic Science Project will be making available via the TAG website.
- Exploding CD4 T Cell Counts
- STIs in Chronic Infection: Predicting Success
- Trouble at the Nodes?
- Coughing Up CAF
- Striking the Balance
- T Cell Crosstalk: Communication Via CD40
- Memory CD8 T Cells Hang Tough
A Review of 'Management of Hepatitis C: 2002 Draft Consensus Statement'
June 2002 - The release on June 12th of a new NIH draft consensus statement, "Management of Hepatitis C: 2002" represents an important milestone in treatment, care, and research in hepatitis C (HCV) infection. The consensus statement was drafted by an expert panel chaired by Dr. James Boyer following two days of presentations by researchers with a question and answer period open to the public.
2002 Keystone Conference Updates
May 2002 - Every year, Keystone Symposia sponsor two parallel conferences on HIV pathogenesis and vaccines. The meetings take place at the Keystone Resort high in the Rocky Mountains, allowing researchers to mix the latest data with a daytime trip to the ski slopes. This year's event offered no earth-shattering new insights, but provided some glimpses of future directions in HIV research.
Report from the 3rd International STI Workshop, 2002
March 23-24, 2002 - Over a wintry, cold weekend this past March researchers and community activists gathered in Montreal for the 3rd International Structured Treatment Interruption (STI) Workshop. Since the workshop was inaugurated in 1999, STI research has diversified into a number of different sub-fields, reflecting the variety of settings in which treatment interruptions are being investigated.
What's in Glaxo's HIV Vaccine?
March 1, 2002 - On January 31, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) garnered a good deal of press by announcing the launch of the first human trial of their HIV vaccine candidate. The company trumpeted data from macaque experiments as the rationale for moving forward with their "novel" candidate, but details of these animal studies were sparse. So, what are the data? And what exactly is in this "unique vaccine candidate"? The answers are perhaps not as thrilling as GSK's press release might lead you to expect. The macaque experiments were conducted under the aegis of SmithKline Beecham (SKB), and the data has recently been presented at several meetings by researcher Gerald Voss, with the public debut occurring at the Vaccines & Immunotherapy Meeting that took place in Puerto Rico in May of 2001.
The Promise of New Vaccine Vectors, the Perils of Partial Protection
March 1, 2002 - January 2002 proved to be a month of mixed blessings for the AIDS vaccine field. A slew of new papers in the prestigious journal Nature publicly highlighted both the promise and potential pitfalls of new immunization strategies, raising the volume of scientific debates that have been quietly preoccupying researchers for some time. At the center of it all were two back-to-back articles released on January 17: one from a team of Merck researchers led by John Shiver, publicly debuting encouraging data from studies comparing multiple HIV vaccine constructs (including Merck's proprietary adenovirus-based vaccine vector) in rhesus macaques; the second from Dan Barouch and Norman Letvin's group at Harvard, presenting a cautionary tale of viral escape from vaccine-induced T-cell responses in the same animal model system. Mainstream media outlets picked up on the story, with Mark Schoofs penning a lengthy Wall Street Journal piece that appeared on the same day the studies were released.
Comments on Problems in the Current Draft World Health Organization (WHO) Antiretroviral Treatment Guidelines for Resource Limited Settings
March 2002 - Twenty-one years into the HIV pandemic the World Health Organization (WHO) has loosened itself from its slothlike lethargy and bureaucratic torpor to produce, seemingly with great reluctance and certainly with great confusion, a draft document on "Antiretroviral Guidelines for Resource Limited Settings."
To Double, or Not to Double? Bioterror Buys a Budget Boost
February 2002 - Ten years ago, TAG was one of the only voices calling for the nation to double its investment in biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). We felt that if NIH grew as a whole, the AIDS research enterprise would benefit from research in other areas. In addition, we advocated dramatic increases in the AIDS research budget itself, and better planning, coordination, and evaluation of the NIH AIDS research program through the NIH Office of AIDS Research. These recommendations -- but not the doubling of NIH as a whole -- became law through the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993. In the mid-1990s, the NIH budget was jeopardized after the Republican takeover of Congress by the "Contract on America" and efforts to balance the budget. Luckily, however, a bipartisan consensus emerged that a healthy and growing NIH was in the nation's interest, and in 1997 both parties agreed to double the NIH budget by the year 2003. Thus, healthy increases in AIDS research in the mid-1990s were supplemented by healthy increases in the NIH budget as a whole.