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Top 5 Contagion® News Articles for the Week of May 21, 2017


This week’s Top 5 articles brought attention to important topics such as where we should be focusing our efforts in HIV research and the discovery of a new vaccine target for the ebolavirus. New research that revealed that delayed vaccinations may be to blame for bacteria-related pediatric deaths in France gained readership attention this week, as did an article covering how close we are to new and easier diagnostic tests for Zika and a new vaccine. Finally, Lyme patient advocate Pat Smith, president of the Lyme Disease Association, Inc shared her thoughts on the how the medical community has been treating Lyme disease in her commentary that is this week’s top article.
Learn more about our top 5 articles of the week, below: 

#5: Where Should HIV Research Be Focused in the Future 

The Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) has set an ambitious benchmark of “diagnosing 90% of everyone who has HIV, giving antiretroviral therapy (ART) to 90% of those diagnosed, and seeing that 90% of those on ART achieve viral suppression, all by the year 2020.” How can this be accomplished? According to Carl W. Dieffenbach, PhD, director of the Division of AIDS at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the answer may lie in melding “the discrete areas of research into a more cohesive effort in order to take advantage of the gains being made in very different areas—from scientific advances in clinical trials to the ability of community-health organizations to get people to embrace prevention strategies such as the use of condoms and/or pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).”
As Dr. Dieffenbach told Contagion®, gaps in prevention and treatment for HIV are real, and “we still need to do something to protect the HIV-negative people.” If researchers were finally able to develop a preventive vaccine, it would be “the ultimate game-changer.” Vaccines that are being developed are just about the enter clinical trials; however, and so the reality of a vaccine is still years away. In addition, such a vaccine is predicted to only provide a 50% to 60% level of efficacy.
Read more about the latest developments in HIV prevention here

#4: Ebola Outbreak Continues to Unfold While Researchers Identify New Vaccine Target for the Virus 

The latest information on the 2017 Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has revealed that the current number of cases is 37 and 4 people have died. More than 400 individuals are continuing to be monitored because they have come into contact with those who are infected.
The outbreak remains confined to the Likati Health Zone in the Bas Uele Province. The remote location of the outbreak has proved to be troublesome for those involved in the relief efforts, but may still be positive in terms of containing the outbreak. “A mobile laboratory from the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) in Likat” has begun processing blood samples by polymerase chain reaction (PCR)of those who are potentially infected. In addition, 7 response committees have been deployed to the region. However, the remote location of the outbreak has all but ensured a low level of risk to the spread of disease on a global level “due to the remoteness and inaccessibility of the area to major international ports.” A moderate level of risk exists at the regional level because of the “recent influx of refugees from Central African Republic” and “the proximity of international borders.”
On a related note, scientists from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine have identified “the first natural human antibodies that can neutralize and protect animals against all three major disease-causing ebolaviruses,” and these findings “could lead to the first broadly effective ebolavirus therapies and vaccines.”
Learn more about the Ebola outbreak and the findings from Albert Einstein scientists, here.

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