The world’s most influential meeting on HIV research has commenced in Germany with stakeholders converging virtually to deliberate more on new ways in HIV sciences. The conference is expected to come to an end on July 21, 2021 with
The 11th International AIDS Society (IAS 2021) Conference on HIV Science will feature discussions and research on the development of new long-acting anti-retroviral including lenacapavir, Covid-19 in people with HIV and the impact of the pandemic on HIV care, scale-up of oral PrEP in diverse settings. Also, it will investigate how people would like to receive their HIV care, including injectables, discuss new oral therapies for TB, treatment issues for children and transgender health.
German-Chancellor, Angela Merkel spoke at the opening of the Conference on Sunday and said that HIV and other infectious diseases can only be fought with worldwide cooperation just as the Covid-19 pandemic is being fought.
According to her, the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic has made world leaders lose sight of the success achieved in research on HIV/AIDS.
“Infectious diseases confront us with global challenges and so the fight against these diseases is only conceivable in the form of worldwide cooperation.
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen how international cooperation has enabled multiple effective vaccines to be developed in record time.
“However, we have also witnessed how in the shadow of this pandemic achievements made in the fight against HIV have slipped from our grasp and sexual violence has increased which in turn has led to an increase in HIV infection rates.
“AIDS must not be allowed to fade into the background due to Covid-19 because the ongoing fight against AIDS too, can only succeed through global cooperation. The countries of this world can and must learn from one another”, she said.
Lack of global cooperation
In her address, the IAS President and IAS 2021 Conference Co-chair, Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman sadly observed that the lack of global cooperation in the fight against HIV/AIDS has made the pandemic linger unresolved for 40 years.
She said that if the energy put in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is put into stopping the spread of HIV, the disease would have reduced drastically over the years.
“It’s been 40 years since the first reported cases of the disease now called AIDS, one of the worst pandemics in human history. To date, we have lost nearly 35 million people to AIDS.
“The response to the Covid-19 pandemic has leveraged HIV science to advance with unprecedented speed. In barely a year, we have not one, but several strong vaccines.
” It has also reminded us that science is deeply political and just as evidence can drive sound policy, the politicization of science can drive misinformation and, ultimately, distrust.
” Just as 40 years of HIV experience informed the Covid-19 response, the scientific breakthroughs and political will achieved in that response must now propel our efforts to end HIV.
“We have new opportunities to adapt and enhance Covid-19 approaches and sustain global attention and commitment to prioritizing public health. This includes harnessing digital technology and community partnerships in research and health care delivery”, she said.
Impact of Covid-19
The IAS 2021 Conference Co-chair, Hendrik Streeck also noted that the Covid-19 pandemic had interrupted the Programmes and activities of UNAIDS and joint partners which made HIV infections go undetected.
“We do not know yet the precise impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on HIV and AIDS, but what we already know is nothing but alarming. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated many inequalities worldwide.
“UNAIDS programmes and activities of joint partners were interrupted or could not be implemented, despite all efforts and best intentions.
“HIV infections have gone undetected. Life-saving drugs have not been distributed. While the Covid-19 pandemic is a devastating catastrophe for so many, so are the collateral damages in health, economic and social inequalities that put many in precarious situations”, he said.
He noted that it has been proven that political will and scientific effort pays as it shows in the efforts of governments to end the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lack of political will to fight HIV
Streeck also lamented that with the political will and International cooperation put into combating the Covid-19 pandemic, scientists have been able to come up with eight licensed vaccines and over 30 clinical trials in phase III but stated that this is not the case with HIV/AIDS which is into its fourth decade.
“In the year we are celebrating the tragic anniversary of the first diagnosed cases of HIV and AIDS, only eight HIV vaccines have entered phase III, even though we are 40 years into the pandemic.
” While HIV cannot be compared to SARS-CoV2 in structure and complexity, one point is clear: with political will, we can achieve more in the fight against HIV and AIDS. HIV is still a global problem.
“While we are hopefully on our way to ending one pandemic, the other has endured far too long. The time is now to end HIV and AIDS. We have the means and we have the opportunity”, he added.
IAS 2021 Conference on HIV Science
The IAS 2021 Conference on HIV Science is a biennial conference and the world’s most influential meeting on HIV research.
According to the IAS 2021 Website, the 2021 biennial conference will present the critical advances in basic, clinical and operational research that moves science into policy and practice.
” Through its open and inclusive programme development, the meeting sets the gold standard of HIV research featuring highly diverse and cutting-edge studies.
” IAS 2021 participants can expect a full conference experience via an easy-to-use digital platform that connects researchers, health care providers, advocates and policymakers,” the IAS 2021 website stated.
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Gombe test 256 NYSC officials, 300 corps members for Covid-19
256 NYSC officials managing activities at the Gombe State Orientation Camp have been tested for COVID-19, while about 300 batch B Prospective Corps Members have already taken the COVID-19 test.
The Public Relations Officer and Head of Press, Gombe NYSC, Margaret Dakama, made this known, noting that the screening and registration exercise was going well.
According to the Gombe NYSC officials, none of those tested so far returned a positive COVID-19 result.
The three-week orientation exercise commenced on Tuesday in Amada, Akko Local Government Area in Gombe, and would last till August 16, 2021.
The expected number of prospective corps members in the camp is 1,750.
Dakama noted that the NYSC registration and screening process would continue till Friday. She however noted that “About 256 camp officials underwent the COVID 19 Rapid Diagnostic Test and 300 prospective Corps members.
“The 300 corps members have been vaccinated. So far, no positive case. The registration will last till Friday 30th July, 2021,” Dakama noted.
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India reports 29,689 new COVID-19 cases, lowest since March
India has reported 29,689 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest daily rise since March 17, the health ministry said on Tuesday.
India’s total of 31.44 million infections now ranks second only to the United States.
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COVID-19: Global cases hit 193,687,980
The novel coronavirus has killed at least 4,156,164 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019.
READ ALSO: Global COVID-19 cases surpass 75 million
This was according to statistic from the official sources on Sunday.
At least 193,687,980 cases of coronavirus have been registered. The vast majority have recovered, though some have continued to experience symptoms weeks or even months later.
The figures are based on daily reports provided by health authorities in each country. They exclude revisions made by other statistical organisations, which show that the number of deaths is much higher.
The World Health Organisation estimates that the pandemic’s overall toll could be two to three times higher than official records, due to the excess mortality that is directly and indirectly linked to COVID-19.
A large number of the less severe or asymptomatic cases also remain undetected, despite intensified testing in many countries.
On Saturday, 8,471 new deaths and 525,589 new cases were recorded worldwide.
Based on the latest reports, the countries with the highest figures for new deaths were Indonesia with 1,266 new deaths, followed by Brazil with 1,108 and Russia with 779.
The United States is the worst-affected country with 610,850 deaths from 34,430,608 cases.
After the US, the hardest-hit countries are Brazil with 549,448 deaths from 19,670,534 cases, India with 420,551 deaths from 31,371,901 cases, Mexico with 238,316 deaths from 2,741,983 cases, and Peru with 195,795 deaths from 2,102,904 cases.
The country with the highest number of deaths compared to its population is Peru with 594 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Hungary with 311, Bosnia-Herzegovina with 295, the Czech Republic with 283, and the Republic of North Macedonia with 263.
Latin America and the Caribbean overall has 1,356,077 deaths from 40,176,616 cases, Europe 1,194,431 deaths from 57,396,849 infections, and Asia 646,037 deaths from 43,599,224 cases.
The United States And Canada has reported 637,394 deaths from 35,856,595 cases, Africa 163,675 deaths from 6,443,764 cases, Middle East 157,239 deaths from 10,139,499 cases, and Oceania 1,311 deaths from 75,442 cases.
As a result of corrections by national authorities or late publication of data, the figures updated over the past 24 hours may not correspond exactly to the previous day’s tallies.
India reports 39,742 new COVID-19 cases
India has reported 39,742 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, a government statement said on Sunday.
The COVID-19 death toll rose by 535 deaths in the last 24 hours, with the total reaching 420,551, health ministry data showed.
Covid-19: Nigeria confirms 272 new cases
The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has confirmed 272 new cases of Covid-19 on the 24th of July,2021.
Till date, 170895 cases have been confirmed, 164788 cases have been discharged and 2132 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory
The 272 new cases are reported from 9 states- Lagos (182), Rivers (34), Ondo(24), Oyo (10), Abia (7), Ogun (7), Ekiti (5), Delta (2), and Plateau(1)
A multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC) activated at Level 2, continues to coordinate the national response activities according to the NCDC website.
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