Plenaries Synopsis



October 25, 2017

16:15 to 16:35

This short speech will give a definition of Big Data, explain why it’s often misunderstood, what does making sense of it entails and the impacts on science, business and society.
Speaker: Robert ALEXANDER, IBM, Italy

Representing Infection

October 25, 2017

16:35 to 17:00

Exploration of the linguistic dimension of infection. AIDS and HIV, while being clinical notions, are also social/cultural constructs and, as such, they come with their own set of – often conflicting –metaphors and narratives. Grounding the discourse on literary sources, Nicolas GARDINI will demonstrate that infection is a long standing “representation” in western culture and that linguistic analysis can help HIV positive individuals and doctors to creatively re-locate the infection within the realm of life and well-being.

Speaker: Nicola GARDINI, Keble College, United Kingdom

The Future of HIV Therapy

October 26, 2017

08:30 to 09:00

Currently, there are 29 antiretroviral drugs approved for the treatment of HIV infection in 6 mechanistic classes.  ART guidelines worldwide recommend an initial treatment regimen consisting of a combination of 2 nucleoside analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) and a third drug, either a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI), a boosted protease inhibitor (PI), or an integrase inhibitor (II).  Current ART regimens are highly potent, safe, tolerable, and convenient.  Current virologic suppression rates can exceed 90% in clinical trials and cohort studies and one pill, once-daily regimens are widely available.  Newer strategies, formulations, and investigational antiretroviral agents continue to move HIV treatment forward.  Although a 3-drug ART regimen is standard, potent 2-drug regimens are under clinical investigation.  Long-acting compounds are under study, including an injectable investigational formulation of the approved NNRTI, rilpivirine, and an investigational integrase inhibitor, cabotegravir, that can be dosed together every 1-2 months.  Other investigational formulations include implantable devices that provide sustained release of antiretroviral agents, and other newer technologies.  The investigational antiretroviral pipeline contains new agents in existing classes (NRTI, NNRTI, PI, II) and some of these are associated with either less toxicity (e.g. NNRTI, doravirine) or different resistance profiles (e.g., II, bictegravir) than current drugs.  Two new mechanistic antiretroviral classes under clinical investigation are the CD4 attachment inhibitors, including small molecules and monoclonal antibodies, and the HIV maturation inhibitors, and candidate drugs in each class are in clinical development.  We currently can control HIV infection long-term with potent, safe, and convenient antiretroviral therapy that leads to prolonged healthy survival in our patients and further innovations can be anticipated.

Speaker: Roy GULLICK, Cornell University, USA


Epidemiological Challenges in Europe
October 26, 2017

09:00 to 09:30

Despite positive news from some parts of the region, HIV is increasing in the European region as a whole, with distinct sub-regional trends. Progress toward the 90-90-90 targets has been uneven, with some countries achieving the targets, while many others lag far behind. Meanwhile, an expanding array of effective tools for HIV testing, prevention and control are available, including HIV treatment including pre-exposure prophylaxis, community-based and self-testing, mobile application-based prevention, and the potential for long-acting treatment provision. Given the evolving epidemiology of HIV in the region and prevention possibilities available, what are the expected challenges for HIV prevention and control in Europe in the coming two decades?

Speaker: Anastasia PHARRIS, ECDC, Sweden


Eradication of Hepatitis C in HIV Coinfection
October 27, 2017

08:30 to 09:00

Direct acting antiviral agents (DAAs) eradicate HCV infection in nearly all treated individuals, including those with HIV/HCV co-infection. Even previously difficult-to-treat patients can now be cured with very effective and safe therapies. HCV eradication strongly reduces liver- and non-liver related events, and prevents onward HCV transmission. The WHO elimination targets include a 90% reduction in new infections and a 65% decrease in mortality by 2030. But this requires improved preventive efforts, as well as substantial increases in diagnosis and treatment rates, which will only be affordable to health-care systems if DAA costs are lowered substantially. However, despite the remaining challenges, the new HCV therapies have the potential to eliminate one of the most common causes of morbidity and death among people living with HIV.

Speaker: Andri RAUCH, University Hospital Bern, Inselspital, Switzerland


Top 5 Basic Sciences Developments in HIV Cure
October 27, 2017

09:00 to 09:30

Top 5 basic sciences developments in HIV Cure: over the last few years, enormous efforts have been performed to move the HIV Cure field forward, with important steps forward but also disappointing messages. In the current lecture, clinicians will be guided through new key clinical data of the last two years that will help them understand the HIV viral reservoir persistence. Important discoveries about the combination of early treatment and vaccine based immune boosting will be discussed as well as the role of immune checkpoint inhibitors and antibody based treatment for achieving an HIV Cure. The potential relevance of recently described markers for latency as well as the need to understand the replication competent reservoir both in the blood, and peripheral tissues will be highlighted based on recent studies.

Speaker: Linos VANDEKERCKHOVE, University of Ghent, Belgium


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