On March 15-16 the European AIDS Treatment Group participated in the second general assembly meeting of the HIVACAR consortium in Digem (Belgium).
The EATG in collaboration with the Complutense University of Madrid is working on a detailed study about the ethical, economic, and psychosocial impact of reaching a functional cure. This study involves both participants in the HIVACAR clinical trial and the greater community of people living with HIV. Results will be disseminated to people living with HIV, policy makers and the general public in Europe in order to better inform their future decisions.
During the meeting the EATG, represented by Giulio Maria Corbelli and Giorgio Barbareschi, presented an overview on the progress of the psycho-social research which covers different issues including demographics, health perceived status and HIV management, possible impact of the HIV status on professional life, knowledge on HIV cure research and on the HIVACAR study, perceived relevance of reaching an HIV functional cure, concerns and motivation to participate in HIV cure clinical trials. The surveys are currently being translated by EATG members in the 4 languages of the countries where the trials will be conducted (Belgium, Denmark, France, Spain). The surveys will open in summer and data for preliminary outcomes should be available by the beginning of 2019. Meanwhile, a brochure and a synopsis have been produced and are available on the public area of the website and the translation of these documents is also in progress.
Future plans to involve local community networks in the project were discussed at the meeting. In the following months the EATG will train representatives from local organizations to provide support as well as reliable and accessible information about the research to the participants. The EATG will also create links to external partners and projects to share ideas and compare objectives and results of the psychosocial research.
The importance of measuring the impact of the research was underlined by the EC Project Officer Alessandra Martini.
The HIVACAR project aims to change the current paradigm of HIV treatment by obtaining a functional cure for HIV thanks to effectively targeting residual virus replication and viral reservoirs. A combination of immune-based therapies with latency reversing agents will be investigated to understand if it helps eliminate viral reservoirs and induce new and effective HIV immune responses that can contain viral rebound after cART cessation. To do this, an innovative phase I/IIa, multinational, multi-centre, randomised, open-label, controlled clinical trial will be conducted. The results of the trials are expected in 2021.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, under grant agreement No 731626.