Most HIV-infected persons are also infected with HSV-2, which is the major cause of genital herpes. Prior studies demonstrated that the risk of passing HIV to a sexual partner is greater when the HIV-infected person has genital ulcers caused by HSV. Previous studies among HIV/HSV-2 co-infected persons and test-tube research have also demonstrated that HIV levels are increased during genital HSV reactivation.
In a pilot study of the effect of HSV-2 suppression on levels of HIV infectiousness, Connie Celum, MD, MPH, Richard Zuckerman, MD, MPH, and a team of researchers at the University of Washington and the research organization Impacta, in Lima, Peru performed a randomized, placebo-controlled cross-over study of daily HSV suppressive treatment in a small group of HIV/HSV-2 co-infected men who have sex with men.
Twenty men aged 22 to 41 enrolled in this trial, which took place in Peru. The men studied had no prior antiretroviral therapy and were not currently receiving antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection. Subjects were randomly assigned to the anti-HSV drug, valacyclovir 500 mg, twice daily or matching placebo for initial treatment. After eight weeks, subjects had a “washout period” in which they received twice daily placebo. Subjects then crossed over to the alternative treatment (placebo or valacyclovir) for eight weeks. Participants visited the clinic three times a week during each treatment arm. At each visit, rectal secretions were collected and weekly blood samples were obtained to determine levels of HIV.
Dr. Celum and her team of researchers found significantly reduced levels of HIV in blood by about 50 percent and rectal secretions by about 30 percent during the 8 weeks when the HIV/HSV-2 co-infected men received valacyclovir to suppress reactivation of HSV. This reduction in HIV levels could have a significant impact on transmission of HIV. Since the only intervention was daily valacyclovir to suppress HSV, this study adds weight to the other evidence that HSV-2 reactivation increases HIV replication. According to the researchers, additional “ongoing randomized trials will answer whether HSV suppression can reduce HIV transmission and address the potential for HSV suppression to delay anti-HIV therapy (antiretroviral) initiation.”
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
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In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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