Sunday, July 18, 2010

Le Deluge

I just attended a small, two-day workshop focused on the science of AIDS eradication and persistence research. "Eradication" is the study of how to get rid of AIDS; "HIV persistence" is the study of why it persists in the body even if AIDS drugs get rid of most of it. The workshop included some very complex basic science. Basic science means studying what is happening at the test tube, blood/cellular level. Clinical science is then taking that information and testing new therapies in people.

Some of the new information is embargoed, meaning I cannot write about it until it is officially released in a few days. But it is coming.

Sharon Lewin, an MD PhD from Australia, gave a preview of her plenary lecture tonight at the opening of the (bigger, six day, 25,000 people) Vienna AIDS Conference. She will be echoing the call in our report, AIDS Cure Research for Everyone for TEN TIMES more spending on AIDS cure research. Also, she showed a slide that read, in big letters, "THE CURE FOR AIDS IS A HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE." That is the second time I have ever read that; the first was in our report. And for millions and millions of people, many with no access to treatment, the cure is their best hope.

There is a lot of important research coming from French researchers.
I wonder if the cure for AIDS will come from France, just as the discovery of the AIDS virus came from the Institut Pasteur in Paris?

I am told that it is the hottest July ever on record in Vienna, and last night the heat broke with an electrical storm. I went out in the pouring rain to find something to eat, and there, smiling and walking along with a friend under an umbrella in the rain, was Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, the Nobel laureate for discovering the AIDS virus. Perhaps it is a good sign.

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