Update #1, Opening Day, Day 2, Sunday and Monday February 5 and 6 from the Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections National Meeting

Conference - Feb 5/6 Transcript

Dr. Eric Daar offers perspectives of interest on topics from the 13th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (held in Denver, Colorado February 5-8, 2006)

Introduction

The Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections has become one of the most important HIV/AIDS research meetings of the year. This year there were over 3,800 leading researchers and clinicians from around the world in attendance with nearly 1000 presentations summarizing new clinical and laboratory research, as well as discussing issues related to co-infections and co-morbidity. The meeting opened on the evening of February 5th with an opening plenary and keynote session.

The 11th Annual Bernard Fields memorial Lecture was given by Bette Korber from the Los Alamos National Laboratory. She described global HIV variation and its implications for vaccine development. Her presentation summarized data on the distribution of different HIV groups and clades, or subtypes from around the world. She also talked about her work in describing where HIV is likely to have emerged from, using molecular techniques to track when HIV likely jumped species from non human primates to humans. Her work took advantage of the oldest available strain from Africa, found from a frozen specimen in 1959, in order to trace the evolution back SIV in chimpanzees- suggesting that this virus entered humans in approximately 1930. She talked about how the extensive variability in HIV is an enormous obstacle to vaccine development and some of the strategies that are being looked at in order to overcome this problem.