What is the connection between HIV research and the COVID vaccine solution?
Actually, HIV vaccine research funded by NIH, Bill & Melinda Gates, and CDC for the past few decades provided the foundation for COVID vaccine research. That HIV research is the reason for the rapid FDA-approved COVID vaccine. Indeed, the COVID vaccines were developed and approved in the U.S. in record time, a feat that would not have been possible without decades of work by HIV researchers.
You see, scientists had been working for more than 20 years on a cure for HIV. This mRNA vaccine technology was the best hope other than a bone transplant. It was finally going to provide a vaccine solution to the HIV epidemic impacting so many people in so many countries.
According to Global HIV.gov, “there were approximately 37.7 million people across the globe with HIV in 2020. Of these, 36 million were adults and 1.7 million were children aged 0-14 years. More than half (53%) were women and girls.”
mRNA Brings Hope
This new type of vaccine using mRNA technology seems very promising. This could turn out to be the turning point in HIV development that we’ve all been waiting for. This report by CNBC asked scientists to discuss why it’s such an exciting prospect.
Scientists have been hopeful that this new type of vaccine technology, known as mRNA-based vaccines could be the key to ending HIV infections for good. This CNBC video will take you through how that was connected to COVID vaccines.
The new generation sequencing technology created for HIV research has allowed scientists to develop these life-saving treatments for COVID quickly on an international level.
World AIDS Day is a global observance that takes place every December 1st. This day serves as an opportunity to raise awareness about the pandemic and commemorate those who have died from it, going back 40 years before Covid even existed!
On December 1st, the world commemorated those who died from an AIDS-related illness. Known as WorldAIDSDay in honor of a pandemic that has been going on for 40 years now and before our very eyes. Despite decades of research, there’s still so much unknown about these viruses. Some wonder if science around HIV has continued, given COVID’s affect on other things.
Why mRNA seems Promising?
Some might ask, did scientists drop the HIV ball? Actually, scientists are hopeful that this new technology used in the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccines could be a turning point for HIV vaccine development. Watch above to learn why mRNA seems so promising, how it’s funded–and who ultimately makes money off of a possible market release! Unfortunately, COVID has introduced some challenges.
The COVID Challenge
We know that testing is the first step to getting treatment for AIDS. There are About 6.0 million people still need access to HIV testing services as of 2020 at the beginning of the COVID epidemic. As of June 2020, 28.2 million people with HIV (75%) were accessing antiretroviral therapy (ART) globally. That means 9.5 million people are still waiting.
COVID impacted access to care. You can watch our webinar on HIV COVID Talks to hear more about how COVID has impacted HIV treatment.
Needless to say access remains an issue for a number of reasons. The HIV continuum of care goal consists of four main stages. The stages are: being diagnosed with HIV; being linked to medical care; starting ART; adhering to the treatment regimen; and, finally, having HIV suppressed to undetectable levels in the blood.
HIV COVID Talks Webinar Series
See more about the impact of COVID on HIV from Scientists at NIH and people on the ground.
HIV in a COVID World
We know now there were more deaths from COVID than from decades of the HIV epidemic. According to Healthline.com (Dec 2021) more than 261 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, including more than 48 million cases in the United States. More than 5 million people around the world had died from the disease, including nearly 778,500 people in the United States.
The COVID Difference
COVID is socially spread, while HIV is more difficult to transmit but just as deadly. Though they are both viruses, they are very different. COVID can be rapidly transmitted, detected, and treated in many cases. While HIV is a slow silent killer, sometimes taking a decade or more to reveal itself.
HIV COVID Connection
Scientists had for years been working on a vaccine for HIV. They began many years ago working on a vaccine technology called mRNA. HIV mRNA vaccine technology had been developed to treat the future of maternal-fetal HIV/AIDS in pregnant women. It may also be used for the treatment of congenital infection caused by perinatal transmission.
Healthline does a comparison of the two pandemics (click here for more). But the comparison we are looking at here is about the combination, like a co-infection. What has been the impact of COVID on HIV testing and treatment?
Impact of COVID on HIV
The effect of lockdown on HIV testing and treatment was surprising. A study in the United Kingdom found that people with HIV seemed to have an increased risk for COVID-19 mortality, according to researchers at Harvard Medical School.
Lockdowns can also affect how we test outside medications like antiretrovirals (ARVs). For example, many times when there’s Violence Against Health Care Providers attempted rape or other forms of assault upon medical professionals who provide care then patients may refuse meds because they don’t want their illness treated any longer if it will make them sicker than what already exists within society at large.