Infectious Disease Experts from Around the Globe Meet to Discuss Viral Threats at ISHEID This Month

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The International Symposium on HIV and Emerging Infectious Diseases (ISHEID) will take place in Marseille, France, 21-23 May 2014.

The International Symposium on HIV and Emerging Infectious Diseases (ISHEID) will take place in Marseille, France, 21-23 May 2014. More than 900 international scientists are expected to challenge current major viral epidemics. The main theme will be, “Together for a World Free of HIV & AIDS.”

“In 2014 viral diseases remain a major cause of death in the world and new strains have the ability to kill millions of people if we do not control their spread,” said Doctor Lafeuillade, President of the ISHEID. “While we have effective therapies for some viruses, with cost issues, we are still unarmed against others. Uniting virologists, immunologists and medical doctors at the ISHEID is a way to move forward,” he added.

Recent findings regarding a potential HIV cure, and future directions, will be addressed by Liang Shan (Baltimore, USA), Ole Schmeltz Sogaard (Aarhus, Denmark), and Jan Van Lunzen (Hamburg, Germany) among others. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infects 35 million individuals worldwide. HIV cannot be eradicated yet from an infected host and, without antiretroviral therapy, leads to AIDS and death. In Western countries more than 30 different drugs are available to block HIV replication and stop disease progression. Due to the presence of viral reservoirs containing latent proviruses, this treatment is life- long unless HIV replication rekindles. This implies problems of compliance, resistance, toxicity and cost. Therefore, the search of a HIV functional cure -where HIV replication could be controlled without continuing antiretroviral therapy- is in the front burners.

In sub-saharan Africa and Asia live 29 million individuals infected by HIV. Most of them do not have access to antiretroviral therapy for economic reasons and they spread the epidemic. Ways to control it will be shown by Myron Cohen (Chapel Hill, USA) and Joep Lange (Amsterdam, the Netherlands). One controversial possibility is to use antiretroviral therapy as prevention for people at risk of HIV but not yet infected. The ideal response would be a preventive HIV vaccine. An update on anti-HIV vaccine development will be given by Marc Girard (Paris, France).

Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection concerns 350 million individuals worldwide. Without therapy, HCV can induce liver cirrhosis and cancer. 2014 is considered to be the year of the "anti-HCV revolution" as several new antivirals are coming to the market, which can definitively cure up to 90-100 percent of patients. Unlike HIV, HCV can be eradicated. But the cost of one single treatment averages 100,000 euros, meaning that it cannot be implemented in most countries where the majority of patients reside. This dilemma and these new therapeutic tools will be discussed by Jurgen Rockstroh (Bonn, Germany), Vicente Soriano (Madrid, Spain), Marc Bourliere (Marseille, France) and Fabien Zoulim (Lyon, France) among others.

The ISHEID will also address other viral threats such as viral hepatitis E (Henry Dalton, Truro, UK), the new deadly H7N9 flu strain (Bruno Lina, Lyon, France) and the new deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (Marcel Muller, Bonn, Germany).

About the ISHEID
The International Symposium on HIV and Emerging Infectious Diseases (ISHEID) is organized under the auspices of the French Agency for AIDS and viral hepatitis Research (ANRS). The 2012 ISHEID (International Symposium on HIV & Emerging Infectious Diseases) attracted more than 1,000 registrations from 48 countries. It allowed fruitful scientific exchanges in a friendly atmosphere during plenary sessions, hot debates, round tables and symposia. It also had a large media exposure, with articles in scientific journals but also in the news from a lot of local, regional, national and international newspapers. Reports were even broadcasted from the French TV, ARTE, and the German radio.

Press contact: Alain Lafeuillade, MD
Department of infectious Diseases, Toulon, France
Ph: +33 4 94 14 50 84
Email: alain.lafeuillade(at)

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