The HIV epidemic is the largest in the world and represents one of the most serious public health problems, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO). Only 30% of the more than 10 million patients in need have the access to the antiretroviral treatment. The total number of infected people exceeds 30 million and there are about 3 million new infections per year. The best hope for reducing the incidence of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is a preventive vaccine.
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The Hospital Clínic of Barcelona presented today the results of the telemedicine program “Hospital VIHrtual”, coordinated by Dr. Felipe Garcia and Dr. Agata León, from the Hospital Clínic Service of Infectious Diseases directed by Dr. Josep M ª Gatell. The tool has been created by a team from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, led by Prof. Enrique J. Gómez and César Cáceres. Through a direct connection via a webcam, Dr. Garcia showed a virtual consultation and explained the benefits of the project, which does not replace the classic face to face visits but complements and enhances them.
A study carried out in the United States has managed to introduce into the muscle cells of macaque monkeys the DNA necessary to produce an antibody-like molecule that is effective against SIV, the virus that causes AIDS in simians. The strategy consists of injecting an adenovirus that introduces the necessary DNA sequence into the nucleus of the muscle cells of the macaques. The researcher, Eloísa Yuste is one of the authors of the study and currently works on the IDIBAPS-Hospital Clínic team led by Dr. Josep Maria Gatell, co-director of HIVACAT(*).
The first antiretroviral treatments appeared in 1996. Since then, new and better drugs have been discovered that have almost turned AIDS into a chronic disease. Nevertheless, there is still room to improve the performance of the the therapeutic strategies used in clinical practice. This is shown by a study published in the online edition of The Lancet, suggesting that early administration of antiretroviral treatment reduces the rate of AIDS development and death in HIV-positive patients by 28%. This study analyzed information from more than 45,000 patients in Europe and North America and combined data from 15 international cohorts. One of these is the PISCIS Catalan and Balearic cohort, coordinated by Dr. Jordi Casabona of the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS in Catalonia (CEEISCAT) – Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO), and by Dr. Josep María Miró of the Infectious Diseases Department of Hospital Clínic – IDIBAPS, University of Barcelona. Dr. Josep María Miró is the only Spaniard in the international When to Start Consortium, which has taken part in writing and signing the article. Professor Jonathan Sterne of the University of Bristol (UK) is the first author.