María Río, Vice President and CEO of Gilead.
On the occasion of the celebration of the 7th edition of the Milestones in Basic and Clinical Research in HIV (hibic)organized by Gilead, Madrid has welcomed this weekend more than 180 experts in the management of HIV, forming a scientific program with the aim of promoting debate and participation around the main advances of the last two years in HIV.
At Hibic 2022, and under the coordination of doctors José Alcamí, José Ramón Arribas, Santiago Moreno and Josep María Llibre, the most relevant milestones and the best jobs of 2020 and 2021 in basic translational research, epidemiology and clinical HIV. A meeting that has already become a fixed appointment of high medical-scientific level and that has gathered more than 2,500 attendees since its creation.
“For 35 years we have been striving to transform the history of HIV and we are aware that the important achievements achieved would not have been possible without the close collaboration and support of the scientific community. Meetings like Hibic, which celebrates its seventh edition this year, become key events, both for the panel of international experts and for their high scientific level, evidencing, once again, the pledge of gilead with research, the training of health professionals and with patients”, indicated Pau Arbos, director of the Gilead Spain HIV business unit.
In this way, and after the success of previous calls, the ‘Meet the Expert’ meeting has once again taken place, coordinated by Josep María Llibre, a doctor at the Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital in Badalona, who highlights that “this session is a unique initiative that allows young national researchers, emerging figures on the international scene in the fight against the HIV epidemic, interact with world leaders in the best clinical and basic research. In ‘Meet the Expert’, Spanish researchers have the opportunity to share your projects research and discuss them behind closed doors with invited international researchers, experts and protagonists of the main projects in the field and allowing them to gain visibility and even establish international collaborations”.
In addition, Llibre adds that “the continuing medical education It is essential in very dynamic areas in which relevant novelties are frequently incorporated. In fact, research and medical training in HIV/AIDS has been a locomotive in the last 40 years, extrapolating advances to hepatitis B and C areasdiagnostic laboratory for microbiology, epidemiology, oncology and more recently covid among others “.
HIV translational basic research
For his part, José Alcamí, doctor at the National Center for Microbiology in Madrid, has been the coordinator of the basic translational science block in which Xu Yu, doctor at Harvard Medical School in the United States; Lillian Cohn, doctor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, in the United States; and Vinay K. Pathak, MD, Cancer Research Center, National Cancer Institute-Frederick, United States. “The basic science part is very focused on the aspect of the biology of the virus, which refers to how the virus integrates into our genes. How HIV enters our cells and has a relationship of extreme intimacy with the patient because it is placed as one more gene, accompanying him throughout his life in that infected cell. For this reason, I have focused on putting into context what the phenomenon of integration from a biological point of view”, Alcamí pointed out.
“In addition, two of the speakers who have participated in this block have shown us the importance of not only the integration process, but the where is the virus going to integrate. A very important point of view that has changed in the last two, three years and on which a very complete work has been done. We have talked about the so-called ‘Elite Controllers’, which are a small proportion of HIV patients who have managed to control the virus and does not replicate or spread. Analyzing what this means for patients and who would then be the candidates to support the strategies to follow, “she added.
This expert also recalled that “meeting again at Hibic is essential to delve into important aspects of HIV management. Reliving the spirit of communication at Hibic, where the speakers, in addition to giving their presentations, interact with attendees, they talk in the corridors, they talk with researchers about future collaborations and science; and all this in a relaxed atmosphere. It is necessary to bet on this original and positive format”.
Epidemiology, prevention and public health
In relation to advances in the area of epidemiology, coordinated by Santiago Moreno, a doctor at the Ramón y Cajal University Hospital in Madrid, “the HIV prevention globally through three tools currently under investigation: pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the use of broad-spectrum neutralizing antibodies and the HIV vaccine. Thus, the researchers have published their novelties in these three areas to update strategies and the future chances of eliminating the pandemic.”
Thus, Nyaradzo Mgodi, doctor of the Clinical Trials Research Center of the University of Zimbabwe; and Larry Corey, a doctor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in the United States, “are authors of papers that provide key novelties in their respective topics. neutralizing antibodies as a useful tool in prevention or vaccines against HIV as a pending issue. The results obtained so far are negative, but the researcher who has presented the results is one of the world’s leading experts and has allowed us to discuss with him the current state and the future of a HIV vaccineMoreno added.
Lastly, in the session on clinical practice, coordinated by José Ramón Arribas, a doctor at the Hospital Universitario de la Paz, in Madrid, they have selected three published papers in scientific journals in 2021. Thus, John Thornhill, a doctor from Imperial College London, in the United Kingdom, will echo his article published in the Lancet Magazine on curing HIV. “An English study that reflects that people living with HIV, who had been infected for a short time, received, in addition to ART, a medication to reduce the reservoir virus and a vaccine to bring them closer to a cure. The results are not very promising in terms of the decrease in the reservoir, but it is one more example that we have to continue investigating the possibilities of a cure”, explained Arribas.
The second study, by Priscila Hsue. Zuckerberg, a doctor at San Francisco General Hospital in the United States, is an article published in New England Medicine, in which a cohort of HIV patients with sudden death and that, in the United States, at least, where the study was done, they were related to drug overdoses.
Finally, Luca Ferretti, a doctor from the Pirbright Institute of Science in the United Kingdom, spoke about the article published in Science linked to a new, more virulent strain of HIV isolated in the Netherlands. “A new variant that is capable of destroying CD4 cells more quickly, but the good news is that it responds to treatment in the same way as the previous strains”, adds Arribas.
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