US Woman Is Cured Of HIV Using New Treatment

Medicines are being put into individual packages at the farmacy dedicated to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) patients at the community hospital in Bangui,on January 27, 2022. Barbara DEBOUT / AFP
Medicines are being put into individual packages at the farmacy dedicated to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) patients at the community hospital in Bangui,on January 27, 2022. Barbara DEBOUT / AFP

 

A woman of mixed race has been cured of H.I.V. in the United States, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

She is believed to be the third person ever to be cured of the disease.

According to scientists, she was cured using a new transplant method involving umbilical cord blood that opens up the possibility of curing more people of diverse racial backgounds than was previously possible.

READ ALSO: WHO Supplies Reach Tigray But Fuel Shortage Stops Delivery

Cord blood is more widely available than the adult stem cells typically used in bone marrow transplants, and does not need to be matched as closely to the recipient, the Times reported.

“The fact that she’s mixed race, and that she’s a woman, that is really important scientifically and really important in terms of the community impact,” said Dr. Steven Deeks, an AIDS expert at the University of California, San Francisco who was not involved in the work.

France’s Nobel Winner For Co-Discovery Of HIV Virus Dies

In this file photo taken on February 12, 1997, AIDS co-discoverer professor Luc Montagnier gives a press conference in Paris.  Pierre BOUSSEL / AFP

 

French scientist Luc Montagnier, who won the Nobel prize for medicine for his co-discovery of the HIV virus that causes AIDS, has died aged 89, the mayor of the Paris suburb where he was hospitalised said Thursday.

Montagnier died on Tuesday in the American Hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine northwest of the centre of Paris, its mayor Jean-Christophe Fromantin told AFP. Fromantin said he was in possession of the death certificate.

Montagnier shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with his colleague Francoise Barre-Sinoussi for their “discovery of human immunodeficiency virus” (HIV), which causes AIDS.

But he was sidelined by the scientific community in later years as he took up positions judged to be increasingly outlandish, notably against vaccines.

His pariah status only increased during the Covid-19 pandemic when he claimed the virus was laboratory-made and that vaccines were responsible for the appearance of variants.

Reports of Montagnier’s death had been circulating online over the previous 24 hours, but AFP was not immediately able to get them confirmed as his family did not speak to major news organisations, while the main research bodies he belonged to said they were unable to confirm his death.

This unusual lack of information surrounding such a well-known figure appeared to be a reflection of Montagnier’s recent standing in the scientific community.

A former star among French researchers, he had lost their support over the past decade over positions they felt they could not share.

‘Decisive role’ 

“Today we praise the decisive role of Luc Montagnier in the joint discovery of HIV,” said the anti-AIDS association Aides.

“This was a fundamental step forward, but one which was sadly followed by several years during which he drifted away from science, a fact we cannot conceal,” it said.

Montagnier made his key HIV discovery in the early 1980s when AIDS cases began to soar and infected people had little chance of survival.

His findings laid the groundwork for AIDS treatments, launched 15 years later, that would allow patients to live near-normal lives despite the illness.

The discovery was followed by a long dispute between Montagnier and the team of US researcher Robert Gallo over whose role had been more important. Eventually they agreed that the Frenchman had isolated the virus, while the American had established its direct link to AIDS.

Further controversies followed when Montagnier began to defend theories that were discredited in the scientific community, such as the “water memory” theory which plays a role in homeopathic treatments.

His positions against Covid vaccinations, while raising his public profile during the pandemic, also found very little backing among scientists.

Initial tributes came from marginal political and scientific figures with anti-vaccination positions.

They included far-right politician Florian Philippot who  launched weekly anti-vax protests across France.

“He was dragged through the mud although he was right about Covid,” Philippot said about Montagnier on Twitter.

Prominent virologist Didier Raoult, himself sidelined among researchers for his views on Covid treatments, praised Montagnier’s “originality” and “independence”.

The only immediate reaction from President Emmanuel Macron’s government came from research minister Frederique Vidal, who said that she felt “emotional” and offered her condolences to Montaigne’s family, but made no mention of his recent scientific positions.

AFP

Buhari Launches N62.1bn HIV Trust Fund

President Buhari speaks at the launch of the HIV Trust Fund at the state house on February 1, 2022.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has launched a N62.1 billion fund to improve efforts towards sustaining the country’s HIV response, addressing killer diseases and public health emergencies.

The trust fund was launched at an event at the state house on Tuesday.

President Buhari, however, said he was hopeful that the private sector-led initiative will surpass the N62billion target in the next five years, in order to adequately provide requisite treatment for HIV-positive mothers while contributing to closing the funding gap for HIV in Nigeria.

Read Also: WHO Warns Of COVID-19 Medical Waste Threat

President Buhari speaks at the launch of the HIV Trust Fund at the state house on February 1, 2022.

 

The private sector-led funding for the HIV Trust fund of Nigeria is expected to crystalise a sustainable financial mechanism for the mobilisation and deployment of domestic private sector resources, particularly aimed at preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the country.

According to the Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Ms Winnie Byanyima, a total of 1.7 million Nigerians are living with HIV, while 1.6 million of that figure are on treatment.

Byanyima further noted that there is an urgent need to scale up domestic funding as Nigeria leads with the highest number of HIV infections among children.

She said although the COVID-19 has pushed back intervention on the pandemic, ending AIDS is not just a moral but an economic imperative.

How HIV Can Be Stopped In Nigeria – NACA DG

The Director-General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr Gambo Aliyu, speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on December 1, 2021.

 

The Director-General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr Gambo Aliyu has highlighted ways the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) can be stopped in Nigeria.

Aliyu, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, said the first step is to eliminate the mother-to-child transmission, noting that a generation free of HIV can be achieved once this is done.

According to him, the more people living with HIV/AIDS are identified, the more the spread of the virus is being curbed.

“If you want to stop HIV, two things are very critical. Stop mother-to-child transmission. If you eliminate it, you will have a generation free of HIV,” he said.

“If you are giving birth to a generation with HIV, then you are going to stay with HIV for a long time to come because these individuals are just beginning a fresh life and they are likely to stay 50, 60, 70 years alive with HIV in their bodies if we are not successful in getting a cure before then.”

READ ALSO: FG Commences Enforcement Of Mandatory Vaccination For Civil Servants

The NACA boss also identified sex workers, transgender and drug users to be at high risk of contracting the virus.

As part of measures in tackling the further spread of the virus, Aliyu said his agency is creating awareness by ensuring that unborn children are protected from the virus.

While noting that the right of unborn children is guaranteed by the parents, the NACA boss charged couples against running away from their responsibility of conducting HIV tests once a pregnancy is detected.

He added, “If it is HIV-Positive, that baby should be protected from having HIV. We can do it, we can prevent that baby from having HIV at the time of delivery, after delivery till the child is 18 months.

“We have some kind of disconnection in the sense that our access to pregnant mothers is limited to those that show up at the facility for an antenatal visit. It may surprise you that half of the pregnant women don’t come for an antenatal visit.

 

 

 

 

HIV Infection Rates Not Decreasing Fast Enough, Says UNAIDS

 

Infection rates of HIV are not slowing fast enough to reach the goal of eradicating AIDS by 2030, a report by the United Nations group to fight the disease said Monday.

Published two days ahead of World AIDS Day, the report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS said shortcomings in the pandemic response can also be seen in the fight against the decades-old disease.

“Many of these missing pieces to fight HIV are also allowing the COVID-19 pandemic to continue and leaving us dangerously unprepared for pandemics of the future,” said UNAIDS executive director Winnie Byanyima.

In June, UNAIDS set new targets to reach by 2025: bringing HIV services to 95 percent of those who need them; reducing annual HIV infections to fewer than 370,000; and reducing AIDS-related deaths to fewer than 250,000 by 2025.

But the report said the world is off-track to meet those goals.

“UNAIDS data show that the curves of HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are not bending fast enough to end the pandemic,” it said.

The report highlighted five urgent Global AIDS Strategy priorities it said should be funded and implemented globally “for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response”.

They include access to preventative equipment like condoms and clean needles, as well as support for community-based health services.

Marginalised people continue to be the most at risk for HIV infection, including gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who use drugs by injection, and prisoners.

A new analysis suggests countries may be under-reporting the size of at-risk populations and highlights the need for better data, it said.

Covid has affected the fight against AIDS differently in different countries but that HIV screening rates had slowed almost uniformly.

But many of same measures the world could take to improve “pandemic preparedness” could also help eradicate HIV and AIDS.

“This crisis… is also an unprecedented opportunity to learn from past mistakes and mobilise the leadership and investment needed for a comprehensive global framework that can end inequalities, end AIDS and end pandemics.”

UNAIDS said the disease could kill 7.7 million people between 2021 and 2030 if the availability of preventative measures and treatments remain at 2019 levels.

If, however, the international strategy is put in place and 2025 goals are met, UNAIDS said some 4.6 million lives could be saved over the course of the decade.

WHO Releases HIV Drug Resistance Report 2021

File photo of WHO

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released its HIV drug resistance report for 2021.

WHO’s latest report gives an in-depth picture of the extent to which drug resistance is growing, and the steps that countries are taking to ensure people will receive effective medicine to treat and prevent HIV.

It reveals that in 2020, 64% of focus countries (countries with a high burden of HIV infection) had national action plans to prevent, monitor and respond to HIV drug resistance. These plans are informed by the Global Action Plan on HIV drug resistance 2017–2021, a multi-stakeholder plan coordinated and published by WHO.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 Deaths Top 1.5 Million Across Europe

WHO encourages countries to monitor resistance and recommends that for people starting antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) called pretreatment HIV drug resistance (PDR). WHO recommends that when PDR to non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI) such as nevirapine and efavirenz reaches a threshold of 10% for a surveyed country, then the first-line HIV treatment should be urgently changed to a more robust dolutegravir-containing regimen.

This report also indicates that an increasing number of countries are reaching the 10% threshold of PDR HIV drug resistance to NNRTI and people who have had previous exposure to antiretroviral drugs are three times more likely to demonstrate resistance to the NNRTI drug class. These findings emphasize the need to accelerate the transition to dolutegravir-containing regimens in countries that continue to use NNRTI-based antiretroviral therapy.

Based on the most recent findings from surveys conducted in 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, nearly half of infants newly diagnosed with HIV carry drug-resistant HIV before initiating treatment. These findings highlight the need to accelerate the ongoing transition and importance of using dolutegravir-based antiretroviral therapy in young children as early as possible.

Since 2019, WHO has recommended the use of dolutegravir as the preferred first-and second-line of treatment for all population groups. It is more effective, easier to take, and has fewer side effects than other drugs currently in use. Dolutegravir also has a high genetic barrier to developing drug resistance, thus supporting its long-term durability and effectiveness.

Since the surveys were implemented, many more countries have initiated transition to dolutegravir-containing regimens, providing people with a better treatment option and strengthening the fight against drug resistance.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an effective prevention option for HIV-negative individuals at substantial risk of HIV infection as part of combination prevention approaches. Resistance is most likely to occur when PrEP is started in the setting of undiagnosed acute HIV infection. As countries implement PrEP to prevent HIV infection, it should be accompanied by surveillance of HIV drug resistance in people who become infected despite use of PrEP.

The report indicates that the number of countries achieving high levels of viral suppression (≥90%) increased from 33% in 2017 to 80% in 2020. Achieving high levels of viral load suppression in populations taking antiretroviral therapy prevents transmission of HIV, HIV-associated morbidity, and mortality and prevents the emergence of HIV drug resistance.

The report also emphasizes the need for routine viral load monitoring and close follow-up of individuals with viral non-suppression, including regimen switch if indicated, to achieve favourable and sustained long-term treatment outcomes. In addition, ensuring the continuous availability and accessibility to optimal medicines to treat HIV infections is essential to prevent HIV drug resistance. These findings emphasize the need to support countries in proactively finding sustainable solutions that are appropriate to local contexts and can involve community members and civil society.

As the current Global Action Plan on HIV Drug Resistance 2017–2021 draws to a close, the report recommends future global, national and country efforts to identify ongoing opportunities to prevent, monitor and respond to HIV drug resistance including adapting to the rapidly evolving treatment landscape and new service delivery models. Minimizing the spread of HIV drug resistance is a critical aspect of the broader global response to antimicrobial resistance that needs coordinated action across all government sectors and levels of society.

“This now regular HIVDR report and surveillance holds countries accountable – to provide high-quality HIV treatment and care and focused investment in AMR. In the future, we will expand our surveillance to new ARVs, and those that are delivered as long-acting agents for prevention and treatment – so that we can maintain our ARVs for the lifetime of people living with HIV,” said Meg Doherty, Director of WHO’s Global HIV, Hepatitis and STI Programmes.

According to the WHO, this report will be discussed during a webinar organized as part of the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2021.

J&J’s HIV Vaccine Fails In Africa Trial

File photo:  (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP)

 

Johnson & Johnson’s highly anticipated HIV vaccine failed to demonstrate adequate protection in a clinical trial involving more than 2,600 young women in sub-Saharan Africa, the company and US health authorities said Tuesday.

Though the vaccine was found to be safe, with no serious side effects, its efficacy in preventing HIV infection was just over 25 percent.

As a result, the “Imbokodo” trial that began in 2017 will now be halted, and the participants, from Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe will be told whether they received the vaccine or placebo.

But the company will continue a parallel trial involving men who have sex with men and transgender individuals that is taking place in the Americas and Europe, where vaccine composition differs and so do the prevalent HIV strains.

In a statement, Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer of J&J thanked the women who participated and the company’s partners.

“While we are disappointed that the vaccine candidate did not provide a sufficient level of protection against HIV infection in the Imbokodo trial, the study will give us important scientific findings in the ongoing pursuit for a vaccine to prevent HIV,” he said.

“We must apply the knowledge learned from the Imbokodo trial and continue our efforts to find a vaccine that will be protective against HIV,” added Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases which co-funded the study.

The J&J vaccine uses similar adenovirus technology to its Covid-19 vaccine, and was delivered with four vaccinations over a year.

A genetically modified cold virus delivers genetic cargo carrying instructions for the host to develop “mosaic immunogens” — molecules capable of inducing an immune response to a wide variety of HIV strains.

The last two doses also contained proteins that are found on the HIV virus itself, as well as a substance called an “adjuvant” that is meant to further spur the immune system.

The trial was analyzed two years after the women, who were aged 18-35, received their first dose.

Researchers found that 63 participants who received the placebo and 51 who received the vaccine became infected with HIV, meaning the efficacy was 25.2 percent.

The participants were offered pre-exposure prophylaxis medication (PrEP) to help prevent HIV infection during the clinical trial.

The women who acquired HIV infection were directed to medical care and offered antiretroviral treatment.

– Quest continues –

In the four decades since the first cases of what would come to be known as AIDS were documented, scientists have made huge strides in HIV treatment, transforming what was once a death sentence to a manageable condition.

Oral PreP, when taken every day, reduces the risk of infection by 99 percent.

But because access to medication remains unequal across the world and even within wealthy countries, a vaccine that would train the human system to ward off infection remains a high priority.

This month, Moderna began a trial of two vaccines based on the same mRNA technology behind its Covid vaccine, according to a listing on a US government website.

HIV is especially hard to produce a vaccine against, in part because it quickly incorporates itself into its host’s DNA.

AFP

WHO Publishes New Clinical Recommendations On HIV Prevention, Infant Diagnosis, Others

 

These guidelines provide new and updated recommendations on the use of point-of-care testing in children under 18 months of age and point-of-care tests to monitor treatment in people living with HIV; the treatment monitoring algorithm; and timing of antiretroviral therapy (ART) among people living with HIV who are being treated for tuberculosis.

The new recommendations launched on Wednesday outline key new actions that countries can take to improve the delivery of HIV testing, treatment, and care services by providing greater options for differentiated approaches such as, supporting HIV treatment start in the community, ensuring that children are diagnosed and treated early and that viral load treatment monitoring is more accessible, focused and triggers clinical action.

“These recommendations make it clear that there is now evidence that integrated delivery of a people-centred HIV, TB, NCDs, mental health and sexual and reproductive health services will be the needed to reach our goals of ending AIDS as a public health issue by 2030,” said Dr Meg Doherty, Director of the WHO Global HIV, Hepatitis and STI Programmes.

READ ALSO: At The Moment, Benefits Of AstraZeneca Vaccine Outweigh Risks – WHO

These new recommendations are an update to the 2016 WHO Consolidated Guidelines on the use of ARV drugs for treating and preventing HIV infection. Since the release of the 2016 version, WHO has provided updates in several areas of this guideline – Antiretroviral options for first- and second-line treatment, infant diagnosis, post-exposure prophylaxis, advanced HIV disease, and management of cryptococcal infections, and delivering HIV services.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges for the continuity of HIV care, and it is critical to ensure that the progress of the past decade is not undone. WHO also remains committed to ensuring the principles for the provision of people-centred, harmonized, and simplified care, within a public health approach, to enable equitable, evidence-based guidelines leading to greater health impact.

Following an extensive scoping process, WHO convened two guideline development groups that met virtually in September and October of 2020 to formulate recommendations and implementation considerations. The guideline development groups consisted of people living with HIV, policymakers from Ministries of Health, researchers, and healthcare providers.

WHO now strongly recommends:

The use of point of care (POC) nucleic acid testing (NAT) to diagnose HIV in infants and children younger than 18 months of age.

To initiate ART as soon as possible within two weeks of starting TB treatment, regardless of CD4 cell count, for adults, adolescents, children, and infants living with HIV.

People on ART for at least 6 months and responding well, should be offered clinical visits every 3 to 6months, preferably every six months, if feasible.

People on ART for at least 6 months and responding well, should be offered refills of ART lasting 3 to 6 months, preferably six months, if feasible.

HIV programmes should implement interventions to trace people who have disengaged from care and provide support for re-engagement.

Psychosocial interventions should be provided to all adolescents and young adults living with HIV.

Task sharing of specimen collection and point-of-care (POC) testing with non-laboratory personnel should be implemented when professional staff capacity is limited.

WHO now conditionally* recommends:

Point of care (POC) viral load testing may be used to monitor treatment among people living with HIV receiving ART.

ART initiation may be offered outside of the health facility.

Sexual and reproductive health services, including contraception, may be integrated within HIV services.

Diabetes and hypertension care may be integrated with HIV services.

The guideline development groups also developed good practice statements for HIV service delivery and revised the treatment monitoring algorithm for people living with HIV.

These clinical and service delivery recommendations are being launched and published independently Wednesday for rapid use and access by Ministries of Health, HIV programme managers, members of civil society, and all other stakeholders.

In July 2021, WHO will be updating the Consolidated HIV Guidelines and will integrate all new and older recommendations into one easy-to-use guidelines document.

The WHO thanked the experts who shared their valuable time contributing to the updates during the global crisis of COVID-19, and dedicated the work to all front-line health care workers who are responding to and succeeding in combatting the joint public health crises of HIV and COVID-19.

Strawberry-Flavoured Child HIV Drug Slashes Cost: Unitaid

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that fewer than 300,000 children were newly infected with HIV in 2012, down from a high of more than 500,000 in the early 2000s.

 

A strawberry-flavoured HIV treatment for the 1.7 million children living with the virus will slash the cost of yearly paediatric treatment by three quarters, Unitaid announced on World AIDS Day.

The dispersible treatment is the first specifically made for children and will initially be available in six African countries in the first half of 2021, the global health development organisation said in a statement.

The new formulation of the recommended first-line HIV treatment dolutegravir (DTG) will cost $120 a year instead of $480, said Unitaid, which works in partnership with the World Health Organization.

“A long-awaited HIV treatment designed specifically for children will now be available in low-and middle-income countries,” Unitaid said.

“The new pricing agreement with generic manufacturers Viatris and Macleods means a new dispersible formulation of the recommended first-line HIV treatment DTG will be launched at a yearly cost of $36 per child, reduced from around $400.”

This will bring down the total cost of yearly paediatric HIV treatment by three quarters from over $480 per child to under $120 per child, said Unitaid.

First Man Cured Of HIV Dies

This handout photo obtained September 27, 2020 courtesy of Michael Louella shows Timothy Ray Brown in-home hospice with his partner, Tim Hoeffgen(L) on August 8, 2020 in Palm Springs, California. AFP

 

 

The first person to be cured of HIV, Timothy Ray Brown — known as the “Berlin Patient” — has died after a battle with cancer, the International Aids Society (IAS) announced Wednesday.

Brown made medical history and became a symbol of hope for the tens of millions of people living with the virus that causes AIDS when he was cured more than a decade ago.

He had been living with a recurrence of leukaemia for several months and received hospice care at his home in Palm Springs, California.

“On behalf of all its members… the IAS sends its condolences to Timothy’s partner, Tim, and his family and friends,” said IAS President Adeeba Kamarulzaman.

“We owe Timothy and his doctor, Gero Hutter, a great deal of gratitude for opening the door for scientists to explore the concept that a cure for HIV is possible.”

Brown was diagnosed with HIV while was studying in Berlin in 1995. A decade later, he was diagnosed with leukaemia, a cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.

To treat his leukaemia, his doctor at the Free University of Berlin used a stem cell transplant from a donor who had a rare genetic mutation that gave him natural resistance to HIV, hoping it may wipe out both diseases.

It took two painful and dangerous procedures, but it was a success: in 2008 Brown was declared free of the two ailments, and was initially dubbed “the Berlin Patient” at a medical conference to preserve his anonymity.

Two years later, he decided to break his silence and went on to become a public figure, giving speeches and interviews and starting his own foundation.

“I am living proof that there could be a cure for AIDS,” he told AFP in 2012. “It’s very wonderful, being cured of HIV.”

– ‘Champion’ –
Ten years after Brown was cured, a second HIV sufferer — dubbed “the London Patient” — was revealed to be in remission 19 months after undergoing a similar procedure.

The patient, Adam Castillejo, is currently HIV-free. In August a California woman was reported to have no traces of HIV despite not using an anti-retroviral treatment.

It is thought she may be the first person to be cured of HIV without undergoing the risky bone marrow treatment.

Sharon Lewin, the president-elect of the IAS and director of the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, Australia, praised Brown as a “champion and advocate” of a cure for HIV.

“It is the hope of the scientific community that one day we can honour his legacy with a safe, cost-effective and widely accessible strategy to achieve HIV remission and curs using gene edition or techniques that boost immune control,” she said.

AFP

AIDS Deaths Could Double In Sub-Saharan Africa Due To COVID-19 – UN

(FILES) In this file photo, The United Nations flag is seen during the Climate Action Summit 2019 at the United Nations General Assembly Hall on September 23, 2019, in New York City. Ludovic MARIN / AFP.

 

The number of deaths from AIDS-related illnesses in sub-Saharan Africa could double if the provision of healthcare to HIV sufferers is disrupted during the coronavirus crisis, the United Nations said Monday.

A six-month disruption of antiretroviral therapy due to the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to more than 500,000 extra deaths in the region in 2020-2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UNAIDS said in a joint statement.

In 2018 — the latest figures given — an estimated 470,000 people died of AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.

The two UN bodies warned of the impact if HIV services are closed, supply chains interrupted, or healthcare services overwhelmed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Modelling conducted for the agencies said a six-month disruption in HIV healthcare services could turn the clock back to 2008, when more than 950,000 AIDS-related deaths were recorded in the region.

“The terrible prospect of half a million more people in Africa dying of AIDS-related illnesses is like stepping back into history,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The knock-on effects would see people continue to die in excess numbers over the following five years, the statement said.

In sub-Saharan Africa in 2018, an estimated 25.7 million people were living with HIV, of whom 16.4 million were taking antiretroviral therapy.

READ ALSO: China’s Ground Zero Reports COVID-19 Infections

Tedros said some countries were already implementing measures such as ensuring people can collect bulk packs of treatment and self-testing kits.

“We must also ensure that global supplies of tests and treatments continue to flow to the countries that need them,” he added.

– ‘Needless deaths’ –

Five teams of modellers used different approaches to work out the effects of possible disruptions to testing, prevention and treatment services caused by COVID-19.

With a six-month disruption, estimates of excess AIDS-related deaths in one year ranged from 471,000 to 673,000.

Disrupted services could also reverse gains made in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, the agencies said.

HIV infections among children in sub-Saharan Africa have declined by 43 percent from 250,000 in 2010 to 140,000 in 2018.

Curtailment of HIV services for mothers and their children could see new child HIV infections rise by as much as 37 percent in Mozambique, 78 percent in Malawi and Zimbabwe, and 104 percent in Uganda, the modelling found.

“There is a risk that the hard-earned gains of the AIDS response will be sacrificed to the fight against COVID-19,” said UNAIDS executive director Winnie Byanyima.

“We cannot sit by and allow hundreds of thousands of people, many of them young, to die needless deaths.

“I urge governments to ensure that every man, women and child living with HIV get regular supplies of antiretroviral therapy — something that’s literally a life-saver.”

Since the first cases of HIV were reported more than 35 years ago, 78 million people have become infected with HIV and 35 million have died from AIDS-related illnesses, said UNAIDS.

AFP

Coronavirus And Five Other Pandemics That Threatened World Population

 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020, will be a date the world will not easily forget. Why? The World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared the new coronavirus outbreak as a ‘pandemic’.

The novel COVID-19 disease which was first discovered in the central Chinese city of Wuhan has infected over 110,000 people and killed more than 4,000 globally.

But the COVID-19 is not the only devastating pandemic certified by WHO that has threatened the world population.

RELATED: Seven Things To Know About Pandemics

Here is a list of dangerously contagious diseases that have been tagged ‘pandemic’.

1. Coronavirus:

The SARS-like virus discovered in the central Chinese city of Wuhan was first confirmed on December 31, 2019.

Coronaviruses are a large family of pathogens ranging from the common cold to more serious illnesses like SARS and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which emerged in 2012 and also caused scores of deaths.

 

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a daily press briefing on COVID-19 virus at the WHO headquaters on March 11, 2020 in Geneva./ AFP

 

The declaration was only due to the fact that its outbreak worldwide sparked fears and according to the WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “the spread and severity of the deadly new coronavirus, which has infected more than 110,000 people and killed more than 4,000, is “alarming”.

He predicted that the number of cases and deaths would grow in the coming days and weeks.

The case fatality rate is estimated at between one and five percent but varies significantly by age and other health conditions.

The infection is spread from one person to others through respiratory droplets produced from the airways, often during coughing.

There is no available vaccine yet.

Already, COVID-19 has been confirmed in all the continents of the world.

An employee of a medical laboratory test a sample of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in Roosendaal, The Netherlands on March 4, 2020.
Rob ENGELAAR / ANP / AFP

2. HIV/AIDS:

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a global pandemic which recorded 65 million infections and 25 million deaths globally.

In 2005 alone, an estimated 2.8 million persons died from AIDS, 4.1 million were newly infected with HIV, and 38.6 million were living with HIV

The virus targets the immune system and weakens people’s defence systems against infections and some types of cancer.

The most advanced stage of HIV infection is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which can take from 2 to 15 years to develop if not treated.

 

'London Patient' Likely To Be Cured Of HIV
(FILES) This file photo taken on December 1, 2010 shows an AIDS symbol displayed on the North Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC during World AIDS Day. Jewel SAMAD / AFP

 

HIV is transmitted through the exchange of a variety of body fluids from infected people, such as blood, breast milk, semen, and vaginal secretions.

According to the WHO, HIV continues to be a major global public health issue with increasing access to effective prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care, but the infection has become a manageable chronic health condition, enabling people living with HIV to lead long and healthy lives.

Over two-thirds of all people living with HIV live in the WHO African Region (25.7 million).

In 2018, Sub-Saharan Africa, the region most affected, had an estimated 61 percent of new HIV infections.

There is no cure for HIV infection, but effective antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) can control the virus and help prevent onward transmission to other people.

Between 2000 and 2018, new HIV infections fell by 37 percent and HIV-related deaths fell by 45 percent, with 13.6 million lives saved due to antiretroviral therapy (ART).

 

An HIV-infected patient displays medicine at a hospital in Payao province

3. Tuberculosis:

Tuberculosis (TB) is a global disease, found in every country in the world, accounting for a total of 1.5 million deaths as of 2018.

It is caused by bacteria that most often affect the lungs, and is spread from person to person through the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes or spits.

People mostly adults in their most productive years, infected with the bacteria have a 5–15 percent lifetime risk of falling ill with TB.

According to facts by the WHO, TB is one of the top 10 causes of death and the leading cause of a single infectious agent (above HIV/AIDS).

 

Expert Advocates More Measures To Curb Tuberculosis
A file photo of an X-Ray to illustrate Tuberculosis on lungs.

 

In 2018, an estimated 10 million people fell ill with tuberculosis worldwide; 5.7 million men, 3.2 million women, and 1.1 million children, with cases recorded in all countries and age groups.

TB is curable and preventable, but globally, TB incidence is falling at about two percent per year.

Tuberculosis occurs in every part of the world; in 2018, the largest number of new TB cases occurred in the South-East Asian region, with 44% of new cases, followed by the African region, with 24% of new cases and the Western Pacific with 18%.

Eight countries account for two-thirds of the total, with India leading the count, followed by, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and South Africa.

Part of the health targets of the Sustainable Development Goals is to end TB epidemic by 2030.

4. The Black Death:

Also known as Great Bubonic Plague was regarded as one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200 million people during the fourteenth century.

The plague is caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis, a zoonotic bacterium usually found in small mammals and their fleas.

People infected with the plague often develop symptoms after an incubation period of one to seven days.

Details from the WHO said the Plague transmitted between animals and humans by the bite of infected fleas, direct contact with infected tissues, and inhalation of infected respiratory droplets.

 

 

The Black Death was the first major European outbreak of the plague and the second plague pandemic.

Although, the origination of the plague is uncertain, there are believes that it emanated from Central or East Asia.

Records show that the Black Death killed an estimated 30 to 60 percent of Europe’s population, and may have reduced the world population which cost Europe almost 200 years to recover its population.

From 2010 to 2015 there were 3248 cases reported worldwide, including 584 deaths.

Plague epidemics have occurred in Africa, Asia, and South America; but since the 1990s, most human cases have occurred in Africa.

Currently, the three most endemic countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Peru.

5. Spanish flu:

The 1918 influenza was the most severe pandemic in recent history, caused by the H1N1 influenza virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no universal consensus regarding where the virus originated, but it spread worldwide from 1918-1919.

It infected 500 million, out of the 1.8 and 1.9 billion people around the world including people on isolated Pacific islands and in the Arctic.

The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States, making it one of the deadliest epidemics in human history.

Mortality was high in people younger than five years old, 20-40 years old, and 65 years and older, and the properties that made it so devastating are not well understood.

With no vaccine to protect against influenza infection and no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections, control efforts worldwide were limited isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, and limitations of public gatherings, which were applied unevenly.

6. Swine Flu:

The 2009 pandemic is similar to the Spanish flu involving H1N1 influenza virus which lasted from early 2009 to late 2010.

In 2010, WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan announced that the H1N1 influenza virus has moved into the post-pandemic period. However, localized outbreaks of various magnitudes are likely to continue.

Linked with pigs, it is a respiratory influenza virus that commonly circulates in swine, and in April 2009, the virus appeared to be a new strain of H1N1 which resulted when the bird, swine and human flu viruses combined with a Eurasian pig flu virus, leading to the term “swine flu”.

The infection was first recognized in the state of Veracruz, Mexico, with evidence that the virus had been present for months before it was officially called an “epidemic”, and it continued to spread globally.

It is estimated that 700 million–1.4 billion people contracted the illness, with about 150,000–575,000 fatalities, recording a much lower case fatality rate.

In late April the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it’s first-ever “public health emergency of international concern,” and in June, the WHO and the U.S. CDC stopped counting cases and declared the outbreak a pandemic.

The H1N1 virus does not infect adults older than 60 years, an unusual and characteristic feature of the H1N1 pandemic.

It is typically contracted by a person to person transmission through respiratory droplets and symptoms usually last 4–6 days.