KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Meetings On USAID Administrator Nominee Gayle Smith's Confirmation Delayed, Sources Close To Process Say

Devex: Gayle Smith’s bid to run USAID hits a snag
“In April, Gayle Smith was nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama to serve as the next administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development … But … sources close to the process tell Devex that Smith’s confirmation is in trouble. … Smith had a speedy and relatively smooth hearing June 17 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but multiple sources indicated to Devex that Florida senator and presidential hopeful Marco Rubio noted her questionnaire response [to a query about the Helms amendment] and raised it with other Republican members of the committee. This resulted in a postponement of an initial business meeting, originally scheduled for late June but now slated for later this month…” (Anders, 7/20).

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French Teenager Infected With HIV At Birth Has Undetectable Viral Level After Stopping Therapy 12 Years Ago

Agence France-Presse: Teen in remission from HIV 12 yrs after stopping meds: researchers
“A French teenager born with HIV has been in remission for 12 years after stopping her medication, a world-first that renews hope for the prospect of early treatment, researchers said Monday…” (Jones, 7/20).

aidsmap: Young woman stays undetectable for 12 years off treatment after early HIV therapy
“…[The] young woman, who was infected with HIV at birth and received very early antiretroviral therapy as a child, has stayed off therapy since the age of six with a viral load well below the detectability limit of standard tests. Such ‘post-treatment controllers’ are models for the ‘functional cure’ which is one of the goals of treatment research…” (Cairns, 7/21).

Associated Press: Doctors say teen’s HIV in check for 12 years without drugs
“…The teen might have some form of natural resistance to HIV that hasn’t yet been discovered. But her case revives hope that early, aggressive treatment can limit how strongly the virus takes hold, and perhaps in rare cases, let people control it without lifelong drugs…” (Marchione, 7/20).

BBC News: Teenager ‘in remission’ from HIV despite stopping drugs
“…Doctors have presented the details of her case at an International AIDS Society (IAS) conference in Vancouver. It is the world’s first report of long-term remission from HIV in a child…” (Dreaper, 7/20).

Bloomberg News: Largest Trial for AIDS Treatment Planned After French Teen’s Remission
“…Researchers now aim to replicate those results on a grander scale. They say they will attempt to batter HIV into submission with treatment initiated shortly after infection, then interrupt the regimen to see whether the virus returns. The experiment will cost about $5 million and could start next year with more than 100 patients, said Steve Deeks, the trial leader and a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco…” (Bennett, 7/20).

CNN: Teenager controls HIV infection without drugs for more than 12 years
“…She was initially treated with antiretroviral drugs as a prophylactic to prevent infection, and then given a combination of four antiretroviral drugs when the virus was found to persist [after birth]. She was monitored as part of a group of child HIV patients, but failed to go in for observations between the age of five and six, during which time her family chose to stop her treatment…” (Senthilingam, 7/21).

Deutsche Welle: HIV teen ‘in remission’ after 12 years off meds
“…Her story was told at an International AIDS Society conference in Vancouver on Monday, rekindling hopes that early, aggressive treatment can limit how strongly the virus takes hold…” (7/20).

The Guardian: Teenager infected with HIV before birth healthy after 12 years without treatment
“…There are people known as ‘elite controllers’ whose immune systems appear to keep the virus at bay, but according to Dr. Asier Sáez-Cirión, of the HIV, inflammation, and persistence unit at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, the French woman does not have the genetic factors associated with those…” (Guardian, 7/20).

Nature: French teenager healthy 12 years after ceasing HIV treatment
“…[The 18-year-old girl] joins a select group of patients with HIV — such as the ‘Mississippi baby’ and the ‘VISCONTI cohort’ of 20 patients — who were treated early on in their infections, then discontinued treatment without immediate ill effects…” (Hayden, 7/20).

Reuters: First case of long-term HIV remission in child revealed
“…The French teenager’s case is thought to be the longest of any on record so far in a child…” (Steenhuysen, 7/20).

Science: How a young child fought off the AIDS virus
“…This time, it’s clear that the French woman is not cured: Investigators have found strong signals of HIV DNA in her immune cells and can readily induce them to produce virus, says Asier Sáez-Cirión, a viral immunologist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris who reported on her case…” (Cohen, 7/20).

USA TODAY: French teen in ‘unprecedented’ remission from HIV
“…The girl’s case shows that ‘long-term remission is possible, even in children, and it can go out as long as 12 years,’ AIDS researcher Sharon Lewin said. ‘But we still need a lot of work to know why’…” (Szabo, 7/21).

Washington Post: French teen’s HIV in remission despite stopping treatment as a child
“…[T]he case presents a number of possibilities for researchers seeking further progress against HIV, said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health…” (Bernstein, 7/20).

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WHO Revising HIV Treatment Recommendations To Include All With Disease; Studies Show Early Treatment Can Lower Risk Of Death, AIDS-Related Events

aidsmap: World Health Organization to recommend HIV treatment for all
“The World Health Organization will issue new HIV treatment guidelines later this year recommending treatment for all, regardless of CD4 cell count, Dr. Meg Doherty of the WHO Department of HIV/AIDS told a satellite meeting ahead of the 8th International AIDS Society Conference (IAS 2015) in Vancouver on Sunday…” (Alcorn, 7/20).

Nature: World Health Organization to recommend early treatment for everyone with HIV
“… ‘Given the very encouraging results we’ve heard at this conference, we’re working towards a recommendation to provide treatment to all people that are HIV positive, early,’ says Gottfried Hirnschall, director of the WHO’s HIV/AIDS department. The update to the agency’s guidelines is expected to take effect in December…” (Senthilingam, 7/20).

Reuters Health: Starting HIV therapy early stalls death, AIDS-related events
“For people infected with HIV, starting therapy before AIDS symptoms appear or before levels of a certain kind of white blood cell fall below a specific threshold can dramatically delay the development of AIDS-related events and death, according to two studies released by the New England Journal of Medicine…” (Emery, 7/20).

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U.N.-Backed Diagnostics Access Initiative Announces Lower Price Of Infant HIV Testing Technologies In Partnership With Roche

U.N. News Centre: U.N.-backed initiative announces deal to sharply lower price of HIV early infant diagnosis
“A dramatic 35 percent reduction in the price for HIV early infant diagnostic technologies [Monday was] announced by the United Nations-backed Diagnostics Access Initiative, in partnership with Roche Diagnostics. … The new access price is US$ 9.40 per test. Bringing together global and regional partners, the Diagnostics Access Initiative calls for improving laboratory capacity to ensure that all people living with HIV can be linked to effective, high-quality HIV treatment services…” (7/20).

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Women Living With HIV In Africa Face Stigma, Discrimination, Affecting Infant Care, Study Says

VOA News: African Women Still Face HIV Stigma
“New research shows that more than 30 years into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, African women living with HIV still face much stigma and discrimination. The study says it’s affecting efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the AIDS virus. … The report is titled ‘Early Infant Diagnosis: Understanding the Perceptions, Values, and Preferences of Women Living with HIV in Kenya, Namibia, and Nigeria’…” (DeCapua, 7/20).

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IAS President Chris Beyrer Discusses HIV/AIDS-Related Issues In Global Health NOW Interview

Global Health NOW: Chris Beyrer: “We Have to Finish This Job”
“…In this first of a two-part Q&A with Global Health NOW’s Brian W. Simpson, [Chris Beyrer, IAS president and an epidemiology professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health,] shares insights into [HIV] treatment and prevention synergies, the challenge of keeping donors engaged, and the value of ambitious goals…” (Simpson, 7/19).

Global Health NOW: Chris Beyrer Part II: Social Barriers in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS
“…In this second part of a Q&A…, Beyrer … explains what issues keep him up at night, the costs of punitive laws against homosexuality, and the prospects for immediate antiretroviral therapy upon a positive diagnosis…” (Simpson, 7/21).

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Canada Announces $15.4M Donation To UNFPA To Help End Child, Early, Forced Marriages

CBC News: Canada gives $20M to U.N. to fight child marriage
“Canada will give $20 million [US$15.4 million] to the United Nations Population Fund for a program aimed at ending child, early, and forced marriages, Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson said on Monday. … ‘Ending child, early, and forced marriage will also improve maternal, newborn, and child health, Canada’s top development priority,’ said Nicholson…” (Bellemare, 7/20).

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UNITAID Chair Discusses Innovative Financing In Forbes Interview

Forbes: U.N. Undersecretary Pioneers Invisible Way To End Poverty
“U.N. Undersecretary Philippe Douste-Blazy has been on a mission to help people around the world who are suffering beyond comprehension. His UNITAID organization has made material progress raising over $2 billion through micro-levies on airlines tickets that have gone to fight HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. His goal is to roll this out globally and assist the vast population that struggles each day for survival in extreme poverty…” (Forbes, 7/20).

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Chilean President Bachelet's Efforts To Relax Nation's Abortion Laws In Jeopardy, Create Split Within Ruling Coalition

Reuters: Chile’s abortion reform in trouble with ruling coalition split
“President Michelle Bachelet’s push to relax strict abortion laws in socially conservative Chile has created a rift inside her ruling coalition and key elements of the reform are likely to be scratched. … Bachelet’s proposals would allow an abortion if a mother’s life is in danger, if a fetus is unviable, or when a pregnancy is a result of rape. But her bill has prompted bitter feuding inside her government, putting major parts of the reform in jeopardy…” (7/20).

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MSF, Mexican Health Authorities To Release Chagas Treatment Guidelines

EFE/Fox News Latino: Docs Without Borders offers guide for treating Chagas disease in Mexico
“Doctors Without Borders [MSF] is about to launch jointly with Mexican authorities a guide for the comprehensive care of Chagas disease victims. According to the Pan-American Health Organization, or PAHO, in Mexico some 800,000 people are infected with this illness…” (7/20).

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Haiti's Rural HCWs Face Challenges In Reaching Patients, Overcoming Cultural, Religious Taboos

Huffington Post: A Glimpse Of An Everyday Struggle Among Haiti’s Health Care Workers
“…Five years after a devastating earthquake hit the island and leveled towns and infrastructure, providing care out in the rural part of Haiti remains a monumental challenge, especially when it comes to women and children. Medical workers must overcome the limitations that extreme poverty imposes on the vast majority of this area’s residents, as well as many people’s cultural and religious aversion to modern medicine…” (Mellgard, 7/20).

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Giant River Prawns Reduce Number Of Schistosomiasis-Infected Snails, Burden Of Disease In Senegalese Village

National Geographic: How Giant Prawns Could Fight Tropical Disease and Poverty
“…A team of scientists led by Susanne Sokolow from Stanford University has been working on a way of stopping the [Senegalese schistosomiasis] outbreak by bringing the snails — and their parasites — under control. Their plan? Add prawns…” (Yong, 7/20).

VOA News: River Prawn New Weapon Against Schistosomiasis
“…[The] team stocked a river in Senegal with prawns, which, in addition to eating the parasite-infected snails, provide a source of marketable protein-rich food. After 18 months, the researchers found 80 percent fewer infected snails and the burden of disease in a nearby village lower by half. In reporting their study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers say this approach has four major benefits: controlling disease, restoring biodiversity, alleviating poverty, and improving nutrition…” (Lapidus, 7/20).

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Editorials and Opinions

Presidents Buhari, Obama Should Commit To Ending Polio In Nigeria, Africa

The Hill: Buhari and Obama can end polio in Africa
Oyewale Tomori, president of the Nigerian Academy of Science

“…Nigeria’s progress to date [on polio] is encouraging, but the country must go an additional two years without a case to be certified polio-free along with the rest of the WHO African region. We will not make it that far without the steadfast commitment of both [Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and U.S. President Barack Obama]. … The U.S. has been a historically strong donor to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and … it is critical that Obama continues to lead the global effort. … Buhari has the historic opportunity to end polio forever on his watch, but only if he dedicates the necessary resources to improve campaign quality, intensify surveillance measures, and reach children in all parts of the country … Until we reach every child, all children remain at risk. … While it’s critical that we don’t lose focus on eradication, we must also increase investment in our often fragile health system. … So, to Buhari and our friend to the West, let us commit, once again and finally, to rid Nigeria and Africa of polio…” (7/20).

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Health Financing Must Be Used Efficiently, Services Integrated To Improve Lives Of Most Vulnerable

Huffington Post: Getting Finance to Improve Women’s and Children’s Health Worldwide
Flavia Bustreo, assistant director-general for Family, Women’s and Children’s Health at the World Health Organization, and vice chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…To improve the lives of the most vulnerable, resources for health must be also used more efficiently. To do this we must break down the silos in health systems, for example, by integrating service delivery between maternal and child health and HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria programs. … One of the most exciting developments and concrete outcomes [at the Finance for Development conference] in Addis was the launch of the new Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of Every Woman Every Child. … The GFF, like the Global Strategy [for Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health that will be launched in September], will look across sectors and make financing more sustainable by helping countries develop sound long-term financing strategies…” (7/20).

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Open Data Systems Needed To Help End Extreme Poverty

Washington Post: Data poverty makes it harder to fix real poverty. That’s why the U.N. should push countries to gather and share data.
Rohini Pande, professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School and co-director of the Evidence for Policy Design Initiative, and Florian Blum, economics PhD student at the London School of Economics

“…A country’s capacity to produce and use statistics does not only require investment in the infrastructure needed to collect, collate, and open up their administrative data to the public, particularly researchers. It also depends on political economy considerations, which thus far have been left out of the conversation. … Governments respond to external as well as internal political pressure. In September, the United Nations should not just announce the final list of Sustainable Development Goals, but also create clear mechanisms to recognize and reward countries that build open data systems and spark research and public discourse … Countries that use their statistics agencies as clearinghouses should be lauded, while others that use theirs as censors should be shamed” (7/20).

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For Businesses, Social, Economic Goals Must Overlap To Achieve Sustainable Development

Forbes: How Do We Get Businesses Working Towards the Sustainable Development Goals?
Bhaskar Chakravorti, senior associate dean of international business and finance at the Fletcher School at Tufts University

“…With the majority of [future economic] growth expected from the developing world, self-interest may be the most compelling reason for businesses to participate in sustainability and inclusive growth. … Africa has emerged as the last frontier for corporations seeking untapped growth opportunities — a perfect lab for perfecting sustainable and inclusive business models. However, Africa is also a perfect reminder that getting these models right will be far from easy. Case in point: Nestlé executive Cornel Krummenacher recently announced that his company is scaling back massively on its Africa operations. … There are three important lessons for stakeholders — in both the private and public sectors — to take from Nestlé’s retrenchment: 1. Interpret market growth forecasts in context, know the territory, and do your own math. … 2. Prepare to be surprised, create options to grow as the market grows — and help the market grow. … 3. Funding plans for the sustainable development goals must factor-in commercial imperatives. … For business to play its part, social goals and narrow self-interest — realistically crafted business goals — must find an overlap” (7/20).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Achievement Of '15 By 15' Global HIV Treatment Target Shows Ending AIDS Epidemic Possible, UNAIDS Report Says

UNAIDS: Success in reaching ‘15 by 15’ shows that we can end the AIDS epidemic
“Following up on United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s announcement on 14 July that the world had reached the target of providing antiretroviral therapy to 15 million people living with HIV, UNAIDS is releasing a new report that describes the factors that helped the world achieve the ‘15 by 15’ target. … The ‘15 by 15’ target was adopted at a United Nations High Level Meeting in 2011, as part of the Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS: Intensifying Our Efforts to Eliminate HIV and AIDS. The new UNAIDS report focuses on the years 2011-2015, describing what happened to make achievement of the goal possible…” (7/19).

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'Science Speaks' Reports On HIV, TB Clinical Trial Findings Presented At IAS 2015 Conference

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: IAS 2015: While “game-changing,” START trial draws “line in the sand” and sets “time a’ ticking” to stop preventable illnesses and death, calls for action are accompanied by questions of impact of inequities, obstacles
Antigone Barton, senior editor and writer of “Science Speaks,” discusses findings from the START trial showing early HIV treatment lowers the risk of disease progression (7/20).

Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks”: IAS 2015: Tuberculosis and poor implementation of proven interventions threaten people with HIV and TB
Christine Lubinski, executive director of the Center for Global Health Policy, discusses results from several research studies that examined TB prevention and treatment among people living with HIV (7/20).

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Aidspan Publishes New Issue of 'Global Fund Observer'

Aidspan: Global Fund Observer
Aidspan, an independent watchdog of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, published Issue 268 of the “Global Fund Observer.” The newsletter features seven news articles on various topics, including the Financing for Development conference, community-based interventions, and a call to change the global TB strategy, among others (7/20).

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