WHO Think Tank on HIV Cure
WHO took the initiative to organize a think tank on HIV cure in Montreux (Switzerland) on 29 May 2012. I have had the privilege to be invited on behalf of the ANRS and I am very gratefull to his Director, Prof. Jean-François Delfraissy for that. The following summary has been been authorized by Marco Vitoria from WHO and the 2 cited speakers, Charles Flexner and Michael Saag.
Charles Flexner (Baltimore, USA) first recalled that Montreux is the adoptive city of Freddie Mercury who died of AIDS in 1991.
In his elegant talk, he then showed a picture of the last man on earth who died of smallpox. "I hope that one day I will be able to show you the picture of the last man who died of HIV", Flexner stated.
He then tried to define what success would mean:
-Treat more patients
-Prevent ART failure
-Stop mother to child transmission
-Lower the number of new infections
-Lower cases of TB
-Lower the number of orphans
Michael S Saag (Birmingham, USA) then reviewed the history of cART since 1996when David Ho wrongly predicted that 3 years of such combos would lead to a cure.
Michael Saag do not believe in ongoing viral replication during cART, like Bob Siliciano.
He however believes in strategies capable to purge the HIV reservoir by reactivatinglatent HIV. "A combo of aclacinomycin and daptinomycin at low doses without activating cells is able to do that" he added.
In the intense discussion that followed, Joep Lange (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) strongly argued for the existence of ongoing HIV replication!
Key words: HIV cure, WHO