Africa CDC raises alarm over continent’s infectious diseases outbreaks

AFRICA – Africa is facing a syndemics, a combination of emerging infectious diseases, which are increasing the continents disease burden, the Africa Centers for Disease Control has announced. Dr john Nkengasong, Director, Africa CDC, said that despite dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, the continent is at risk due to these infectious diseases. “The African continent as a whole is facing what we call a syndemics; a combination of emerging infectious diseases. We are dealing with this pandemic, but there will be another pandemic. “Syndemics are exacerbating the disease burden across…

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Access to HIV prevention and treatment services marred by numerous inequalities according to newly released data

WORLD – Following a newly released report from the Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free initiative, the total number of children on treatment declined for the first time, despite the fact that nearly 800 000 children living with HIV are not currently on treatment. The report further showed that opportunities to identify infants and young children living with HIV early are being missed since more than one third of children born to mothers living with HIV were not tested. Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free is a five-year framework that…

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UNDP grants US$103 million to help Angola fight Malaria, HIV, Tuberculosis

ANGOLA – The United Nations injected a sum of US$103.2 million into Angola’s health system for the period 2021-2024, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Angolan Health Ministry said in a joint statement. According to the statement, the new global fund will pay to combat malaria, HIV and tuberculosis, especially in the southern provinces of Benguela and Cuanza Sul. With regard to malaria, the fund aims to reduce the number of deaths from 26 to 19 per 100 inhabitants, ensure at least 90 percent of the population in…

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ODYSSEY trial data confirm superiority of dolutegravir-based ART in young children

SWITZERLAND – New findings from the ODYSSEY trial confirm that dolutegravir -based regimens can significantly improve virological suppression in young children. Country programmes are being encouraged to plan a rapid introduction of dolutegravir -containing HIV treatment as the preferred first-line regimen for all infants and children who are as young as four weeks of age and weighing more than 3kg. The ODYSSEY trial, a multi-country randomized trial sponsored by Penta, has previously demonstrated superior treatment efficacy for dolutegravir plus two nucleoside analogues versus standard-of-care (SOC) in 707 children ≥14kg (median…

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HIV infections increases risk of severe and critical COVID-19 reports WHO

WORLD – According to a recently released report by the World Health organization (WHO), HIV infection is a significant independent risk factor for both severe/ critical COVID-19 presentation at hospital admission and in-hospital mortality. It found that the risk of developing severe or fatal COVID-19 was 30% greater in people living with HIV (PLHIV) compared to people without HIV infection and nearly a quarter (23.1%) of all people living with HIV who were hospitalized with COVID-19, died. The report is based on clinical surveillance data from 37 countries regarding the…

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Data and safety monitoring board clears American gene technologies for its HIV cure program

US – American Gene Technologies (AGT) has been cleared by the Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) under a unanimous vote to continue with its HIV cure program after safety analysis of the participant’s data revealed no adverse effects from the treatment. AGT’s HIV cure program is based on a platform that has the capacity to treat other chronic viral infections, as well as monogenic disorders and cancers. The nod by DBSM gives AGT the confidence to keep pushing for the cure against HIV/AIDS cure. “Safety represents a critical milestone…

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People living with HIV face double jeopardy due to Covid-19, while access to HIV services remains a challenge

AFRICA – People living with HIV are at a higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness and death, yet the vast majority are denied access to COVID-19 vaccines, according to a report by UNAIDS. Key populations and their sexual partners account for 65% of new HIV infections but are largely left out of both HIV and COVID-19 responses as 800,000 children living with HIV are not on the treatment, they need to keep them alive. In sub-Saharan Africa, which is home to two thirds (67%) of people living with HIV, less…

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Kenya risks losing KSh48 billion from Global Fund over Covid-19 Kemsa graft

KENYA – The Global Fund has said Kenya risks losing KSh48 billion (US$444.7 million) if corruption allegations at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) are not completed and changes made to ensure transparency. The fund mobilizes and invests money to accelerate the fight against Aids, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics. The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission began investigating allegations of graft at Kemsa last year over the procurement and supply of Covid-19 equipment. The agency cited an “irregular expenditure” of KSh7.8 billion. The Fund and the Kenyan government have signed a…

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University of Oxford takes great stride in fight against HIV with its launch of HIV vaccine trials

UK – Researchers from the University of Oxford have launched the first phase trials of a novel mosaic vaccine targeting a ‘broad range’ of HIV variants. The HIV-CORE 0052 trial, part of the European Aids Vaccine Initiative, will involve 13 healthy HIV-negative adults aged 18 to 65 years old who are not considered to be at a high risk of infection. Participants are expected to receive one dose of the vaccine known as the HIVconsvX followed by a further boost dose at four weeks. HIVconsvX, unlike other HIV vaccine candidates…

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First ever HIV generic drug for babies distributed in Africa, says UNITAID

AFRICA – UNITAID and Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) funding has enabled procurement of 100,000 packs of the dolutegravir formulation, a strawberry-flavored tablet for children living with HIV in six African countries. These aid agencies have distributed the first generic pediatric version of a key anti-retroviral, global across Nigeria, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Benin, UNITAD’s spokesman Herve Verhoosel said in statement. UNITAID and CHAI had reached a pricing agreement with the generic drug makers Viatris and Macleods for the dispersible pediatric formulation of dolutegravir. The first-line HIV treatment is…

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