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Florida approve plan to release 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes to stop the spread of disease

Photo by James Gathany/CDC. Public Domain.

Florida state regulators have gained approval to release 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes across the state to reduce the spread of the diseases they carry.

The British biotech firm Oxitec has modified the mosquitos to pass on a particular protein when they mate which lowers the survival chances for female offspring. With fewer females in the population, the researchers aim to reduce the spread of the diseases they pass one as the males of this specific species, known as Aedes aegypti, do not bite so they do not spread disease.

Anti-HIV drug PrEP has 30% lower concentration levels in pregnant African adolescents and young women

Photo by Tony Webster

Pregnant African adolescents and young women who took the HIV drug PrEP were found to have 30% lower levels of the drug in their system than others when taking it regularly.

Prep is an anti-HIV drug that requires the patient to take regular oral tablets. It is shown to reduce the risk of sexual HIV acquisition by more than 90% in men and women when taken daily. Women must take it more regular to get drug concentration protective levels in the female genital tract.

Uganda finalising clinical trials on new injectable HIV drug

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Marie Montez

Uganda is preparing to enter the final stages of developing a new HIV treatment to reduce stigma and discrimination of those living with the disease.

The Uganda Aids Commission is finalising clinical trials on an injectable version of a treatment, which the government is planning to unveil in 2021.

Lack of mental health treatment available for HIV patients in the UK

Photo by QuinceMedia

A cross-party group of MPs have said that those with HIV do not have access to adequate mental health treatment.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on HIV and AIDS met with patients living with HIV throughout the England. It was found that most HIV clinics have no-mental health professionals on staff, which the MPs said could reverse progress the country has made in ending HIV.

Rapid testing to help combat worst UK outbreak of HIV in 30 years

New HIV tests that provide results in minutes are being used in Glasgow to fight a recent outbreak of HIV.

The city is currently facing the UK’s worst HIV outbreak in over 30 years, with homeless people and drug users being the groups most affected. Around 170 people have contracted the disease but it is believed this number is actually much higher.

Funding cuts and government inaction has led to soaring STI rates in Britain, new study finds

The UK faces a new Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) diagnoses every 70 seconds, according to a new report that outlines how government inaction and cuts has led to a rise in STIs.

The State of the Nation report was produced as a collaboration between the Terrence Higgins Trust and the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV. It had found that there were 447,694 cases of STIs diagnosed in England in 2018, with Gonorrhoea up 249% and chlamydia up 6%. Syphilis is up 165% which is the highest rate since the Second World War.

HIV infections fall by 73% in bi and gay British men

Public Health England has released figures that show that HIV rates in bi and gay men have fallen by 73% since 2014 in the UK.

This has largely been attributed to the rise in the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (Prep). It is a pill that is taken daily, or prior to sex, to prevent HIV infection. If taken consistently it protects cells in the body and disables the virus to stop it multiplying, so it won’t spread even if a condom isn’t used during sex.

Labour and Lib Dems make election pledge for wider access to HIV drug

The Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats have both pledged to roll out access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) therapy for the prevention of HIV to anyone who needs it in England.

PrEP is for people who do not have HIV but are at a very high risk of contracting the disease. This drug is highly effective in preventing HIV, reducing the chance of contracting it through sex by about 99% when taken once a day.

Even if someone is exposed to HIV, taking PrEP can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection.

Gilead challenges Government over patents on preventative HIV drug Truvada

Gilead is challenging the US Government’s patents on PrEP drug Truvada.

The Foster City firm has submitted a challenge to the US Patents and Trademark Office (PTO) over the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) patent on preventative HIV drug Truvada.

In a statement from August 21, Gilead said: “We strongly believe that the patents granted to HHS since 2015 for PrEP and PEP are not valid.”

GSK's two drug HIV regimen effective when administered every two months

GSK’s long-acting, two-drug HIV regimen was as effective in supressing patient’s viral loads when administered every two months (eight weeks), than it was when administered monthly, over a period of 48 weeks, according to the results of a Phase 3 trial.

GlaxoSmithKline’s HIV unit ViiV Healthcare has said its two drug cocktail of cabotegravir and rilpivirine (Janssen) proved successful in supressing viral load when administered every two months in the Phase 3 ATLAS-2M.

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