What Can We Look Forward to in HIV Cure Research? Conversation With Research Advocate Richard Jefferys

This past March, the 20th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) brought an unprecedented flurry of mainstream interest in potential HIV cure strategies. TheBodyPRO.com’s Nelson Vergel sat down with leading HIV cure research activist Richard Jefferys for an update on current important aspects, and controversies, in HIV cure research. Jefferys, who coordinates the Basic Science Vaccines and Prevention Project at Treatment Action Group in New York City, is at the forefront not only of gathering data and information from different studies, but also of educating other activists on the new language of immune-based therapies. Read Part One of this conversation.

Part Two Here

How HIV Providers Should Prepare for Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act: The name alone is enough to make the eyes of clinicians and patients alike glaze over. Yet the impact of the ACA (colloquially called Obamacare) has the potential to be massive when it comes to access to clinical care for HIV-infected people in the U.S. And with more ACA-related changes on the near horizon, the importance of staying informed has never been greater, particularly for health care providers who work in settings supported by Ryan White CARE Act funding.
To discuss the real-world effects of the ACA and offer guidance to HIV health care professionals, we spoke by phone with two leading experts: Michael Saag, M.D., a professor of medicine and the director of the Center for AIDS Research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, as well as a former chair of the HIV Medicine Association; and Michael Wong, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the board chairman of HealthHIV, an education and advocacy organization for frontline care providers.

ViiV goes for gold: US premium pricing may threaten dolutegravir use in Europe

On 12 August 2013, the FDA approved dolutegravir in the US. i-Base reported the news with an article linked to previous clinical trial results that noted not only the potential advantages but also some of the cautions.  One of the concerns was how the price, which didn’t accompany the original company press statement, would be critical for whether dolutegravir finds a significant market.

While pricing is complex, the first indications of where ViiV have set their new drug are not encouraging. Unfortunately, dolutegravir has been priced as a second- rather than first-line option, with a US Wholesale Acquisition Cost (WAC) price of $1175 per month for 30 tablets ($39 per day, $14,105 per year).  When used by someone with integrase resistance the dose increases to 50 mg twice a day, presumably doubling the cost.

Read more here

Monthly or Quarterly Injectable HIV Antiretrovirals Are Safe and Effective in Early Study

GSK744, an investigational integrase inhibitor, and TMC278 LA (a long-acting, injectable form of the NNRTI rilpivirine [Edurant]) both showed safety and efficacy when administered in once-monthly or once-quarterly doses, according to a study presented at IAS 2013. There were no drug-related serious adverse events and all adverse events were either mild or moderate.

The phase 1 study, conducted by GlaxoSmithKline and Janssen, assessed the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of GSK744 (when given intramuscularly or subcutaneously) in conjunction with TMC278 LA (injected intramuscularly). The researchers enrolled 47 HIV-uninfected individuals (17 female and 30 male) with a median age of 39.5. Thirty-five were white, 10 black, and two of another race.