World AIDS Day: “WE ALSO ARE AT WAR”

For the 32nd time, World AIDS Day was held on December 1 on the theme “WE ALSO, WE ARE AT WAR” announces the Solidarité Sida association.

World AIDS Day was established on December 1, 1988 by the WHO and endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly. It is one of eight official WHO campaigns for global public health, with World Tuberculosis Day (March 24), World Health Day (April 7), World Week immunization (last week of April), World Malaria Day (April 25), World No Tobacco Day (May 31), World Blood Donor Day (June 14), World against hepatitis (July 28), and Global Antibiotic Use Week (November).

Since 2005 and until 2010, the theme based on “keeping the promise” had been chosen. That of “zero goal” and “HIV and adolescents” was adopted in 2013. The following year, it was “to close the gap in prevention and treatment and in 2015, the WHO chose to retain the theme, “expanding antiretroviral therapy to all people living with HIV.

HIV is often present in co-infection with other viruses such as hepatitis B and C. HIV-tuberculosis co-infection is a major public health problem in Africa, where HIV is believed to be linked to the increase in cases of tuberculosis in the past ten years. According to the WHO, tuberculosis is responsible for around 13% of AIDS deaths worldwide.

Finally, the search for a preventive vaccine against AIDS is still an absolute priority, around ten “candidate vaccines” are being tested around the world, including at least two in France. This year, we are awaiting a result for the AIDS vaccine, which is expected to fight the HIV virus, but US health officials have announced that the clinical trial has stopped.

US health authorities have announced the discontinuation of the Phase IIb / III clinical trial of a preventive HIV vaccine regimen in South Africa because it has not been shown to limit contamination.

This phase 2b / 3 clinical trial, dubbed HVTN 702 or Uhambo, began in 2016 in South Africa and aimed to test the only vaccine candidates that offered partial protection against HIV in a previous trial in Thailand, 2009. The vaccine schedule consisted of two components, a vector-based vaccine against canarypox called ALVAC-HIV (Sanofi Pasteur®) and a two-component vaccine comprising the gp120 protein subunit (GSK®). The scheme is that of the “prime boost”: the first component prepares the immune response, which is multiplied when the second is injected as a boosted booster. A bit like the small friction car of childhood. The previous trial, HVTN 100, found this new vaccine regimen to be safe and induce high antibody responses against several strains of HIV prevalent in southern Africa.

Thirty years and yet the epidemic is still active in too many countries. Despite great scientific advances, the most vulnerable populations find themselves on the front line when it comes to HIV. Inequalities have never ceased to fuel the HIV / AIDS epidemic and affect every region of the world. To end the epidemic, tackling inequalities is essential.

The randomized trial enrolled more than 5,400 volunteers, sexually active HIV-negative men and women between the ages of 18 and 35, at 14 locations across the country. One arm had received a combination of two experimental vaccines, the other had placebo injections, six doses over an 18-month period. Prep, a pre-exposure prophylaxis, was also offered to participants. The vaccine candidate had been adapted for HIV subtype clade C, the most common in southern Africa.

No protective immune response was detected in the vaccinated group, even after 18 months, the time required to elicit a response. On the other hand, 129 HIV-related infections were diagnosed in the vaccinated participants and 123 infections in those who received the placebo.

This announcement is a blow to the teams working on candidate vaccines. Failures in research normally occur in earlier stages.

These disappointing results remind us that the announcements concerning the supposed “HIV vaccine” discoveries are still to be treated with caution.

The HVTN 702 trial was part of an HIV vaccine research project led by the public-private partnership Pox-Protein, or P5, a group of public and private organizations working on the basis of the RV144 trial. . Members of P5 are NIAID, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, South African Council for Medical Research, HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN), Sanofi Pasteur®, GSK® and the US Military HIV Research Program.

There are several other trials underway to try to find a vaccine. One, Imbokodo, takes place in South-Saharan Africa and South Africa, another, HPX3002 / HVTN 706 or Mosaico, is being carried out at multiple sites in North America, South America and Europe.

There is an urgent need to involve more community organizations in order to overcome the obstacles preventing them from providing services, whether because of administrative obstacles for associations or in the absence of contractual and social modalities.

“WE ALSO ARE AT WAR”

After Donald Trump in the famous fake news “Aids is over”, it is the turn of Emmanuel Macron to be staged by Solidarité Sida in the face of the health emergency. In 2020, AIDS is expected to claim 1 million new victims.

On December 1, World AIDS Day, Solidarité Sida is reaching out to the general public and opinion leaders with the help of the WNP agency.

By hijacking the presidential speech delivered by Emmanuel Macron on March 17, when the spread of the coronavirus had forced France into confinement for the first time in its modern history, Solidarité Sida wants to remind that AIDS is expected to claim 1 million new victims in 2020 (according to the WHO). A tragedy comparable in scale to that of Covid-19, but infinitely less publicized.

“We too are at war” announces loud and clear Solidarité Sida. A film to see urgently and to share on all social networks.

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