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A Few HIV related News Updates for July 2018

CartoonNurseSyringeHIV vaccine elicits antibodies in animals that neutralize dozens of HIV strains

Source: NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Summary: An experimental vaccine regimen based on the structure of a vulnerable site on HIV elicited antibodies in mice, guinea pigs and monkeys that neutralize dozens of HIV strains from around the world.
Here’s a noteworthy quote: “NIH scientists have used their detailed knowledge of the structure of HIV to find an unusual site of vulnerability on the virus and design a novel and potentially powerful vaccine,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “This elegant study is a potentially important step forward in the ongoing quest to develop a safe and effective HIV vaccine.”
Go here for the entire article
HIV vaccine elicits antibodies in animals that neutralize dozens of HIV strains
Lily says…This article might be a bit over most of our heads scientifically, but there is a great explanation of the two different approaches to developing human vaccine for HIV near the beginning of the article…Before it gets way too clinical for most of us! The NIH (National Institute of Health) is exploring both “schools of thought” as it were, and each of the two research “forks” currently has studies close to enrolling larger human participants in their trials by 2019. We have to stay tuned to what’s on the horizon so now is the time to get some of the basic education under our belt!

Promising therapy’ for alcohol abuse

Source: University of Rhode Island
Summary: Alcohol abuse is among the leading causes of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 88,000 people a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That total is higher than the combined death tolls of HIV/AIDS, gun violence and car crashes. Despite this, current medications are not highly effective in addressing alcohol abuse. A professor is working to change that, and a new clinical trial is right around the corner. Here’s an interesting quote from this article: “Addictions share similar pathways in the brain — food addiction, alcohol addiction, drug addiction. If this drug can block the ghrelin receptor, even if you have high ghrelin level, your ghrelin receptors become numb, and do not respond to the hunger signal,” said Akhlaghi, co-principal investigator on the study. “In 12 patients, there was a statistically significant reduction in alcohol craving and food craving. The main outcome was that the drug was safe and well-tolerated, did not affect alcohol pharmacokinetics, and that there was a significant dampening of the effect of ghrelin.”
Lily says…Interesting but there is more to study here. I do think that one approach might work for one or some like these pills, but not all, and so this pervasive addiction to alcohol continues to challenge health care providers and medical professionals as well as the family members and friends a person with alcohol addiction relies on.
My opinion is this is the World’s biggest addiction substance and the easiest to get including in mouthwash. We can’t ever get rid of alcohol all together and I don’t believe we should have to either but giving humans with various backgrounds and beliefs around alcohol should hear what my Great Grandmother used to say, “Everything in moderation.” which included her shot of vodka and Mogen David Elderberry Wine each night before she went to bed…At least I think it was most nights, and only one shot of each mind you…LOL! Maybe it was her way of a sleeping remedy! All I’m saying is that the habits we perpetuate are the habits we saw perpetuated! Communities have to do their part in alcohol addiction reduction and support research like this which is trying to get to the “bottom of it” and help Communities live healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives!

Top 10 Reasons to Participate in a Research Study

  1. You will contribute to the wellbeing of society, and the advancement of medical research
  2. Your quality of health and life may improve
  3. You have an opportunity to learn more about your illness or condition and options for treatment
  4. You may have access to currently approved medications and testing supplies…
    These are just a few considerations when enrolling in a drug trial or any kind of research study for that matter. It’ll make you think and think some more! Go to the full article: Top 10 Reasons to Participate in a Research Study to read the other (6) six reasons and sincerely think about what role you might play in a research study if one interests you in the near future. It’s a question anyone with any chronic illness might need to be aware of especially once they read this entire article!
    Lily says…Well I was on a few drug trials back in my day in the 1990’s. Actually a few of the little lovelies bombed big time like one called Hivid, how fitting of a name huh, and I’m glad of it , too. It deserved a special place in well, hell!
    In about 2000-something or so I did a painful year in order to finally fail the protocol on lopinavir/ritonavir called Kaletra because after starting it within about 2 weeks immediately got one of the most severe side effects but had to continue for the rest of the year anyway. Back then if you started a drug and then you failed it you could never ever try it again. In the case of this lovely Kaletra who’d want to EVER try it again! I AIN’T STUPID! LOL! It made my bones hurt so bad I hate to start or stop walking because that’s when the intense pain came in waves…Until I sat down. Talking about another reason for poor eating habits, this one fit the bill!
    If you can’t get to the food you lose weight granted. If or when you do finally get there, you still have no appetite because of the excruciating trip, several steps from where you started to where the food is, mading you so nauseated you ended up turning around and trying to head back to where you started from or to the toilet to barf if you were lucky enough to have time to make a decision before it was made for you!
    Plus, back then when you were changed from one combo to another pill regime you could only go off it immediately if it was life threatening (I sure thought I’d be better off dead, but that wasn’t enough to quit it…) so I continued for the rest of that year hating my body! Glad those days are over!
    There are a few others like Norvir and Lamivudine, known as (brand name) Epivir, wwhich are still mainstream drugs and since they are both “older” like 1997 & 1994 FDA approved respectively they are cheaper but can cause more side effects as a result, compared to the “one or two pills a-day” regimes most people with HIV take today.
    Yet Norvir saved my life, pure and simple! I was on the test study and received my first pills in the hospital 6 horse pills twice a day. Talk about puking big time in 1995! It came in a plain prescription bottle with an old-fashioned snap on top and had the typed label saying something like “Take as directed with Food. May cause nausea, vomiting and trunkal obesity.”
    What the hell is trunkal obesity anyway? Obviously I could put the pieces together and sure enough I gained 25+ pounds by the time I had been on the drug just a few months, gaining plenty more before it leveled off. I was alive though, and that seemed to me like a miracle, so on I went. I just discontinued Norvir about 2 years ago now. 25+ years or so made a believer out of me for sure…Side effects or not, I am not complaining about the lasting effects of it either…I’m a grandparent for pete’s sake!
    When I originally said yes to drug studies it was to advance treatments for people with HIV because I was passionate and still am about living long enough to possibly see a cure.
    Consider being a test “dummy” yourself if the right study and circumstances present themselves. You don’t have to be the sickest or the youngest or the one with the perfect blood work anymore either. Do what’s right for you and know every little bit helps!