It’s World AIDS Day and it’s time to take a moment to not only draw conclusions on what has been done so far, but also to focus on how much still needs to be done to ending the HIV epidemics and finding a cure for HIV.
According to the 2018 UNAIDS data, there were approximately 37.9 million people living with HIV across the globe. Of these, 36.2 million were adults and 1.7 million were young people less than 15 years old. Meanwhile an estimated 1.7 million individuals worldwide became newly infected with HIV.
This World AIDS Day, First Health Pharmaceuticals wants to highlight the importance of fighting HIV and AIDS on several fronts by mentioning some of the major HIV/AIDS research projects and community-based organizations (CBOs)’ activities it participated in.
USCA 2019 – Washington DC, USA
First Health Pharmaceuticals has always been sensitive to the social impact for people living with HIV and over the years it has made many new friends within the HIV community. In September 2019, First Health Pharmaceuticals and its First Health United foundation attended, in collaboration with their American HIV activists’ community, the United States Conference on AIDS, one of the most important USA HIV/AIDS events organized by the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), together with other community organizations from the USA.
EACS2019 – Basel, Switzerland
Later on 2019, there was the most important European HIV/AIDS event, EACS2019 (the 17th European AIDS Conference), in Basel, Switzerland, organized by the European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS). The conference is the largest annual gathering of HIV specialists, clinicians, researchers, industry leaders, activists, policy makers, government officials and people living with HIV, with presentations focused on HIV cure research, HIV drug resistance, antiretroviral strategies, HIV prevention methodologies, sexually transmitted infections and HIV biology.
During the conference First Health Pharmaceuticals made an important statement regarding its translation inhibitors by announcing that the world’s first ever HIV Translation Inhibitor will proceed into clinical development. The company also held some parallel sessions with scientists, activists and pharmaceutical industries to discuss how biotech and clinical research can come together to find a cure for HIV.
Meanwhile First Health United foundation and its youth ambassador Louise Bakker had important meetings with many community-based organizations (CBOs) and activists to help raise HIV awareness among youth as a vulnerable target for new HIV infections and on how to deliver effective HIV prevention services to the people living with HIV. During these meetings, Louise also stressed the need to address First Health United foundation’s concern about young women of especially sub-Saharan countries not having access to HIV treatment and therapy. (Click on the video at the bottom of the page to find out more)
First Health Pharmaceuticals’ 2019 HIV Research Projects
As of May 2019, First Health Pharmaceuticals has been participating in three major HIV projects in The Netherlands, focusing on both HIV Latency Reversal and HIV Reservoir Reduction, which when combined offer a so-called “Shock & Kill” strategy for HIV eradication. These collaborations include major academia, clinical and industry partners such as the Erasmus Medical Center of Rotterdam, the Amsterdam University Medical Centre, the Utrecht University Medical Centre and ViiV. These cooperation projects are co-financed with a PPP (Public-private partnership) allowance that has been made available by Health ~ Holland, Top Sector Life Sciences & Health, to Aidsfonds to stimulate public-private partnerships and also benefit from the support and feedback of the Dutch association of PLWH (HIV vereninging).
First Health Pharmaceuticals’ HIV Translation Inhibitor drug candidate
Since its establishment in 2015, First Health Pharmaceuticals has been focusing on RNA technology to find a cure for HIV. For decades, the battle against HIV/AIDS has been fought on several fronts. The HIV virus has proven to be capable of rapidly developing resistance against all the antiretroviral drugs that have been thrown against it. The introduction of HAART combination drugs has greatly enhanced the life expectancy of HIV/AIDS patients, but thus far has not resulted in a definitive cure. The reason for this is not directly related to resistance development but rather to the annoying capacity of the virus to protect itself by remaining in a semi dormant stage in certain cells related to our own immune system where it is impossible to be detected and destroyed by the same immune system. First Health Pharmaceuticals’ DDX3 RNA Helicase Translation Inhibitor class of compounds do not target viral proteins but temporarily inhibit an enzyme of our own RNA cell biology that is of vital importance for the virus during its reproduction cycle. As such the virus finds itself in an impossible situation in which mutating its own viral proteins is no longer helpful in escaping from the drug effect; thus no, or less drug-resistant strains are selected and expanded. Based on the results of above-mentioned ongoing research projects, so far, First Health Pharma’s compounds have proven to be highly active against ART resistant HIV strains while at the same time offering breakthrough possibilities in Latency Reversal and Reservoir Reduction strategies.
First Health Pharmaceuticals @EACS2019 – Basel, Switzerland