Experts in Virology Meet in Marseille this Month to Find Curative Therapies against HIV and Tackle other Viral Threats

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More than 900 scientists are expected in Marseille, France, on 21-23 May 2014 to find answers regarding implementation of anti-HIV therapy and anti-HCV therapy and the spread of new viral threats: deadly Flu strains, MERS-coronovirus, hepatitis E... during the International Symposium on HIV and Emerging Infectious Diseases (ISHEID).

Toulon, Var, France., May 05, 2014 - (PressReleasePoint) - The International Symposium on HIV and Emerging Infectious Diseases (ISHEID) will take place at the Parc Chanot Congress Center in Marseille, France, on May 21-23, 2014. More than 900 international experts are expected to make progress on HIV cure, worldwide implementation of anti-HIV andanti- hepatitis C (HCV) therapies, and address the issue of other emerging viral diseases.

First, HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, infects 34 million individuals worldwide with 29 millions in sub-Saharan Africa where access to antiretroviral therapy is limited. The World AIDS Organization (WHO) has defined the main goal regarding this pandemic to be “Zero new infection, zero discrimination, zero death” but WHO is still far from reaching it.

The ISHEID will tackle the issues of HIV prevention, HIV vaccine, HIV treatment access, with the main international experts of the field” said Alain Lafeuillade, MD, President of the Symposium.

Then, HIV cannot yet be eradicated from an infected host but there is hope to find a “functional cure” in a next future. This kind of cure is a situation where HIV is not eradicated but its replication controlled without the need to maintain antiretroviral therapy. Update on these approaches for a cure along with the development of an anti-HIV therapeutic vaccine will be given at the ISHEID.

Regarding HCV, this virus infects more than 300 million individuals worldwide and leads to liver cirrhosis and cancer. In 2014, for the first time, are coming to the market new anti-HCV drugs able to definitively cure every patient infected by HCV. But the cost of one single treatment averages 100,000 euros, meaning that access is already limited for economical reasons. Medical doctors, patients and activists cannot accept that politicians and pharmaceutical companies give access to these treatments only to HCV-infected patients from rich countries.

These economic considerations are also in the front line regarding viral research against new viral threats that challenge the world. For 2 years the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronovirus is spreading outside its initial region of development and millions of pilgrims expected to Mecca next July and at the fall have the potential to accelerate MERS-co spread.
Hepatitis E is already widely distributed and there is no therapy against it.

The nightmare of virologists is the existence of deadly flu strains like H5N1 and H7N9 that have the potential to rapidly spread with worldwide air travel, as Ebola virus can too. The prediction is that there is a risk that these viruses become the main challenge within a few years. The ISHEID will also tackle these threats.

The ISHEID is organized under the auspices of the French Agency for AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Research (ANRS).
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Press Contact:
Alain Lafeuillade
Department of Infectious Diseases, General Hospital,
Toulon, france
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