The 3-4 May 2012 French Agency on AIDS & Hepatitis Research Agency Seminar on HIV Reservoirs
From May 3-4, more than 450 HIV specialists, Hepatitis specialists, clinicians, researchers, technicians and patients' advocates were present at the prestigious Pasteur Institute in Paris for a terrific seminar on Virology, HIV Reservoirs and prevention. The goal of this report is to focus on the work done by the ANRS in France and around the World and to give you a summary of what was presented. Speakers' slides will be available on the ANRS website (www.anrs.fr) within a few weeks. This report is under the responsibility of its author and may not always reflects the opinion of the Agency or of the speakers.
The 2012 seminar was at a turning point of HIV and Viral Hepatitis research. It was kicked off by Professor Jean François Delfraissy, the current Director of the ANRS.
Professor Jean François Delfraissy Opening Address:
HIV Reservoirs and Search for a Cure are Top Priorities for the Agency.
Professor Delfraissy first underlined the fact that the ANRS is since January 2012 part of the INSERM, the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research.
Its main objectives are Prevention, the search of an HIV cure, the search of a vaccine, diagnosis of undiagnosed patients, North/South cooperation and viral hepatitis.
But when the NIH budget for that is 3086 Millions of US Dollars, the ANRS Budget is 45 Millions of Euros, from which 20% are devoted to viral hepatitis.
Jean François Delfraissy then recalled the reality of HIV care in developped countries, and in particular the "USA Cascade" which shows that only 28% of HIV-infected patients in the US are currently <200 copies/ml on ART. This is explained by several factors: those who are not diagnosed, those who do not have access to care, those who do not are retained in care, those who do not take their medication...
According to an estimate of Dominique Costagliola, French epidemiologist, the "French Cascade" would give 56% of patients <50 copies/ml.
Finally, Professor JF Delfraissy congratulated Pr Patrick Yéni for his recent nomination as head of the "National Council for AIDS".
Professor Françoise Barré-Sinoussi declared that:
The Search for an HIV Cure has to be Done from Bottom to Top and not from Top to Bottom.
She emphasized the work accomplished by people invested in the IAS Strategy "Towards an HIV Cure" she launched in 2010. The scientific roadmap for this strategy will be published next July at the World AIDS Conference in Washington, DC.
A pre-conference workshop will take place on July 20-21 with an opening lecture of Pr Antony Fauci.
Deadline for abstract submission is May 22 at www.aids2012.org
Doctor Asier Saez-Cirion underlined that:
CD8 T cells are a major player in the control of the HIV reservoir in HIV controllers.
He showed data from the French "VISCONTI" cohort coordinated by Christine Rouzioux prooving that patients able to control HIV replication themselves after a course of ART given at acute HIV infection (and then stopped), have an immune response that is special.
Professor Brigitte Autran pointed out that:
The HLA B57 is the Strongest Marker for a Low Reservoir.
In her experiments, HLA B27 and B17 are also important, and patients bearing both HLA B57 and B27 have Central Memory T cells which are relatively protected.
Fifty percent of HIV controllers are HLAB57+, compared to 3% in the general population.
Professor Carine Van Lint stressed that:
We Have Now Deciphered many Mechanisms involved in HIV Latency and thus Have Many Potential Targets
She discussed the different findings of 2 research groups concerning the role of provirus methylation.
She also gave the preliminary results of Sharon Lewin group trial with Vorinostat, showing that no latent virus activation could be found after a 2 weeks administration period in 9 patients.
Finally, Doctor Pierre Delobel recaped the main unanswered questions in the search of an HIV cure and the challenges ahead.
Many questions came from the floor and gave birth to animated and fruitfull exchanges.
The Event Took Place at the Prestigious
Pasteur Institute in Paris, France
Logistics were done by the "Phenomene" agency
based in Suresnes, France
with a brillant team.
Key words: ANRS, HIV cure, HIV reservoirs, NIH, Pasteur Institute, World AIDS Conference, research, towards an HIV cure