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May 2013 News from ADARC

Dear Friend,
Thank you for your support of ADARC's mission to find solutions to the HIV/AIDS epidemic through scientific research. We want to share some of the scientific progress taking place in our laboratories, and hope you will enjoy being a part of future breakthroughs.
Long-Acting Drug Has Potential to Protect Against HIV Infection 


Chasity Andrews, PhD

A new, long-acting integrase inhibitor - GSK744LAP - successfully protected macaques against SHIV infection, reported Chasity Andrews, PhD, a post-doctoral Fellow in Dr. David Ho's laboratory. Dr. Andrews presented the promising results of the recent study at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. With the promise of an effective HIV vaccine still many years away, there is a great need in the field for long-acting agents that can be used as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

A recent trial of daily oral combination therapy as PrEP showed that adherence can be a significant barrier to the drugs' effectiveness. The new product currently being tested by Dr. Andrews and her colleagues has the potential to remain effective for up to three months, so people could remain protected against HIV infection with only four annual injections.  

In this study, the goal was to test the drug's efficacy as a PrEP agent in rhesus macaques. Half of the macaques were treated with GSK744LAP, the other half remained untreated to serve as controls. All animals were then challenged repeatedly with SHIV (simian-human immunodeficiency virus, an engineered virus which combines elements of HIV and SIV). Scientists analyzed the animals' blood to check for infection and to test the levels of the drug. The results were remarkable - after 7 weeks, all control animals became infected, whereas all monkeys treated with GSK744LAP remained uninfected. The next step will be another animal study to determine how long the drug can remain effective. That will be helpful in establishing the correct dosage when the drug finally reaches large-scale clinical trials among people at high risk for HIV infection.


"We are optimistic that this drug will be an effective and well tolerated PrEP agent once it is tested among healthy human volunteers," said Dr. Andrews, who joined Dr. Ho's laboratory in 2011 after completing her PhD at the University of Michigan. A native of North Carolina, she became interested in vaccine research because of its potential to go beyond the bench. "I am highly motivated by science that has the potential to impact human health, which led me to Dr. Ho's group," Dr. Andrews said. "This project is exciting because it has the potential to impact the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the near future."



You can support Dr. Andrews's work in HIV prevention by making a donation to ADARC.  


Getting to Zero: Towards Eliminating Pediatric HIV/AIDS in Yunnan, China


In 2005, ADARC launched a program to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS as a response to an urgent public health problem: the high incidence rates of HIV/AIDS in Yunnan, China, particularly among babies born to HIV-positive women. Though these infections are highly preventable, without intervention up to 35% of babies will become infected. Almost half of babies born HIV-positive will die before their second birthday if not diagnosed and treated.


The demonstration project started in only six counties, and included testing and treating HIV-positive mothers with combination therapy to improve their health and protect their newborns. With intervention, transmission rates dropped from 33% to about 2% - the same seen in urban areas in developed countries. Later, the program expanded to 26 counties, and broadened to include routine screening and care for syphilis and hepatitis B, diseases that can also be transmitted from mother to child. In collaboration with local government and healthcare workers, we provided training to strengthen local health infrastructure, ensuring the program's sustainability. The success of this model has led to its adoption as the official protocol of the Chinese PMTCT program, which will protect thousands of babies across China every year.


To learn more about the success of this program, click here



Academic Seminars   


Invited speakers share their work on HIV/AIDS with a scientific audience.

To attend, please email              

Monday, June 10 - 12:00 - 1:00pm


Ronald Swanstron, PhD -  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center  


"Selection and Evolution of HIV Entry Phenotype from Transmission to NeuroAIDS"



In This Issue
New Long-Acting Prevention Drug
Getting to Zero
Academic Seminars
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