2012 Global Scientific Strategy

Under the auspices of the International AIDS Society, an International Scientific Working Group of over 30 leading scientists in the HIV cure field developed a Global Scientific Strategy: Towards an HIV Cure. The scientific working group worked towards the establishment of a consensus on the state-of-the-art HIV cure research which lays the foundation for the strategy document. The Global Scientific Strategy is complimented by a more comprehensive and detailed document which outlines the Full Recommendations of the International Scientific Working Group.

Throughout the process, the IAS has taken steps to engage stakeholders globally to solicit their input and expertise on how to develop a cure for HIV. To this end, the Global Scientific Strategy was circulated widely to stakeholders between late 2011 and early 2012. The consultation phase include online and in-person discussions with hundreds of community activists, pharmaceutical and biotech company representatives, regulatory and research funding agencies, as well as key HIV researchers from both high-income and low- and middle-income countries. In order to gather innovative ideas and include a new perspective on HIV cure research, scientists from outside the HIV field were also consulted.

The aim of the Global Scientific Strategy is to contribute both to maximizing resources and strategic investment in the most promising strategies in search of a cure, and to the establishment of an international research alliance and/or expansion and global collaboration of existing consortia. Within the Global Scientific Strategy, the international group of scientists identified seven priority research areas, spanning basic science in virology and immunology, preclinical science and clinical trials.

The seven priority research areas are:
  • Cellular and viral mechanisms that maintain HIV persistence
  • Tissue and cellular sources of persistent SIV/HIV in animal models and long term ART-treated individuals
  • Immune activation and dysfunction in the presence of ART
  • Natural models of HIV/SIV control
  • Assays to measure persistent infection
  • Therapeutic and immunological approaches for eliminating persistent HIV infection
  • Enhancement of immune response to conrol viral replication
The IAS held press conferences on 19 July 2012 in Washington, DC, Barcelona and Paris, one day prior to the launch of the Global Scientific Strategy at the 2012 Towards an HIV Cure scientific symposium. The symposium was held immediately prior to the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC in July 2012, with the support of the NIH, the ANRS, Sidaction and TAG. The symposium was structured in line with the scientific priorities defined in the Global Scientific Strategy. The symposium provided a platform to present state-of-the-art basic science and clinical research on viral reservoirs and novel strategies towards achieving a cure for HIV infection. It also offered a valuable opportunity for scientists who are working on an HIV cure to share ideas, debate and network among their peers.

The IAS Towards an HIV Cure initiative received both positive scientific feedback from peers and extensive media coverage as a result of both the symposium and the publication of the Global Scientific Strategy: Towards an HIV Cure in Nature Reviews Immunology.