The world has really made a significant progress since the late 1990s, but HIV continues to be a major global public health issue.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at the end of 2019, there were an estimated of 38.0 million people living with HIV and 1.7 million people were newly infected. From these, 81% knew their status, 67% were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) and 59% had achieved suppression of the HIV virus with no risk of infecting others. This is the result of concerted international efforts to respond to HIV, which is increasingly allowing an enlarged access to effective HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care, including opportunistic infections. Currently, HIV infection has become a chronic manageable health condition, and lifesaving antiretroviral therapies allow those living with HIV to enjoy longer and healthier lives.
Asphalion is actively participating in one EU-funded project aimed at discovering an HIV infection cure. Under the Horizon 2020 programme, we are members of the consortium working on the following project:
– HIVACAR: aims to successfully combine immune-based therapies, including therapeutic vaccines and broadly neutralising antibodies, with latency reversing agents. The vaccine is in a proof-of-concept phase I/IIa clinical trial.
Our experts are carrying out all scientific and regulatory affairs activities related to the project and help guiding the product development strategy towards the goal of the European Commission’s initiative: to bring research ideas into the market and make them available to the patients.
The breakdown in essential HIV services due to COVID-19 is threatening lives. Any slowing down in the provision of these services will leave vulnerable population with a greater risk of HIV infection and AIDS-related deaths. Nevertheless, health workers and community representatives all over the world are doing their utmost to keep the treatments going and adopting innovative ways to overcome service disruptions caused by COVID-19.
All in all, we would like to acknowledge the scientific community for their meaningful work and commitment in the deterrence of AIDS, along with all the health professionals, volunteers and patients involved.