How HIV analysis paved the best way for the Covid mRNA vaccines

Every December 1st, the world commemorates those who died of an AIDS-related illness. Known as World AIDS Day, it is a reminder that there has been an ongoing pre-Covid pandemic for the past 40 years.

The Covid vaccines were sequenced, developed and approved in record time in the US, but that would not have been possible without decades of work by HIV researchers.

“Almost everyone who works on Covid vaccines is from the HIV world,” said Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC, a global advocacy group for HIV prevention. “Moderna had been working on an mRNA-based HIV vaccine before it was even known that SARS-CoV-2 existed.”

An HIV vaccine has escaped scientists for decades. The traditional way of thinking about vaccines is to mimic the body’s natural immune response to a virus. The problem with HIV is that the body’s natural immune response isn’t strong enough to fight the virus. This means that a vaccine needs to address the problem in a different way. Scientists hope mRNA technology – the same technology used in Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid vaccines – could be a tipping point.

Government funding is an integral part of all vaccine research and development. In just a few months, Operation Warp Speed ​​provided $ 10 billion for Covid vaccine research and development. In contrast, between 2000 and 2020, the US government contributed $ 12 billion to research and development of HIV vaccines. These funds often go to private companies.

“Almost every vaccine we get today was developed by a private company, although the actual research and development may have been a joint venture,” said Dr. Jeffrey Harris, Co-Founder of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.

Public-private partnerships can have a serious impact on who makes a profit and who ultimately gets access to the vaccine. Moderna and the National Institutes of Health are currently locked in a lawsuit on a key patent for the Moderna Covid vaccine.

Watch the video above to learn what the success of Covid mRNA vaccines means for HIV and who would benefit from an HIV vaccine.

Pfizer says its Covid tablet with HIV drug cuts the chance of hospitalization or dying by 89%

Pfizer said Friday that its easy-to-use Covid-19 pill, used in combination with a widely used HIV drug, increased the risk of hospitalization or death in high-risk adults exposed to the virus by 89% lowers.

It’s now the second antiviral pill behind it Merck‘s to demonstrate strong efficacy in treating Covid at the first sign of disease. If approved by regulators, it would likely mark a turning point in the ongoing global battle against the pandemic.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNBC the company plans to submit its data to the Food and Drug Administration before Thanksgiving.

“I think this drug is going to change the way things are happening, that are going to save millions and millions of lives, it has the potential to do that,” Bourla said in an interview with CNBC.Squawk box“He said the company has” the current capacity of 500 million pills, “which in his opinion equates to 50 million treatments.” The very high level of effectiveness comes as a surprise even to us and exceeds our most visionary expectations about it. “

Pfizer’s pill, scientifically known as PF-07321332, belongs to a class of drugs called protease inhibitors and works by blocking an enzyme that the virus needs to multiply in human cells. Protease inhibitors are used to treat other viral pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis C.

The HIV drug helps slow the metabolism or breakdown of the Pfizer pill so that it stays active in the body for longer periods of time at higher concentrations, the company said.

The company said its data on the drug is based on a mid-to late-stage study of 1,219 adults who had at least one underlying disease and one laboratory-confirmed infection within five days. Participants also received a low dose of ritonavir, a drug often used in combination treatments for HIV.

Pfizer said there were six hospitalizations and zero deaths of the 607 study participants who received the pill in combination with the HIV drug within five days of the onset of symptoms. That compares to 41 hospitalizations and 10 deaths for the 612 people who received a placebo.

“These data suggest that our oral antiviral candidate, if approved by regulators, has the potential to save patients’ lives, reduce the severity of COVID-19 infections and achieve up to nine out of ten hospital stays Avoid, “said Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer in a statement.

not how Gilead SciencesThe intravenous drug Remdesivir, Pfizer and Merck drugs can be taken orally. While vaccinations remain the best form of protection against the virus, health experts hope pills like these will prevent the progression of the disease in those who become infected and prevent hospitalizations.

Biotherapeutics from Merck and Ridgeback said on October 1st that they developed a drug that, when given on its own, reduces the risk of hospitalization or death in patients with mild or moderate cases of Covid by about 50%.

Merck’s antiviral pill was approved by The UK Medicines Agency on Thursday.

June Raine, chief executive of the UK’s drug and health products regulator, said the Merck pill is the treatment of Covid, a disease that has cost the lives of more than 5 million people worldwide and has put an enormous strain on health systems.

Bourla told CNBC in April that Pfizer’s pill could be available to Americans by the end of this year.

AVOL Kentucky holds annual AIDS Stroll to lift consciousness and cash for HIV testing and companies

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – An annual walk in downtown Lexington on Sunday was designed to raise awareness about HIV.

After nearly 30 years of the event, it was another deadly disease that forced the organizers to get creative in order to continue the tradition.

Each step is one step closer to complete HIV eradication, which is the overall goal of AVOL Kentucky.

“AVOL’s mission is to end HIV and we are here to serve,” said Executive Director Jon Parker.

AVOL continues to use its annual AIDS walk to raise awareness and raise funds, funds for HIV testing and other social services for the infected and affected.

COVID-19 is a hurdle that resulted in fewer hikers participating this year, but community support remains the same.

“They did not disappoint, they continued to fund organizations like AVOL and others,” said Parker. “We’re just blessed to be part of this really great community.”

The event would normally attract hundreds of people, but due to the pandemic, around 50 HIV carers are going to represent the entire community.

“These are people who continued to work through the pandemic to help people living with HIV provide services, housing support and HIV testing,” said Parker.

The event began with speakers including State Representative Kelly Flood and Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton, whose healthcare backgrounds give her a personal bond with the cause.

“I have provided a lot of patient care over a period of many, many years, and that is very important to me,” said Mayor Gorton.

Then the HIV Care Heroes set off downtown to continue the journey to a cure.

The goal of the fundraiser was to raise $ 38,000, and AVOL Kentucky had hit $ 36,000 before the walk even started.

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