Hope for AIDS vaccine?

first_imgJust three years after the high-profile failure of an AIDS vaccine trial sent researchers back to the drawing board, optimism is again rising about the prospects of protecting humanity from a disease that ranks among the deadliest in history.Seth Berkley, president and chief executive officer of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), outlined new approaches, new discoveries, and one moderately successful recent vaccine trial that he said paves the way for real progress toward ending a pandemic that in 2008 alone infected an estimated 2.7 million and killed 2 million.Though the spread of antiretroviral treatment to the developing world has improved the prognosis of those getting the drugs, the drugs are still unavailable to many, which means that HIV/AIDS remains a killer for most sufferers, Berkley said.Berkley spoke Tuesday (Nov. 9) at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), where he delivered a Dean’s Distinguished Lecture on the subject. HSPH Dean Julio Frenk introduced Berkley, calling the AIDS pandemic “the single most important public health crisis in the history of humankind.”In 2007, the failure of a vaccine trial by pharmaceutical giant Merck sent a wave of pessimism crashing over the AIDS vaccine community. Considered at the time the most advanced candidate for a successful vaccine, its failure — and the evidence that it might have actually increased the risk of contracting HIV — left researchers feeling as if they had to start from scratch.In the years since, however, several breakthroughs have advanced vaccine efforts, Berkley said. One is the discovery of 15 antibodies in humans that provide new avenues through which to attack the virus. A second is the promise shown by new viral vectors — used to deliver a vaccine to the target — and the third is a 2009 trial in Thailand of a vaccine that appears to have provided protection against HIV for about 30 percent of those inoculated. While Berkley said the Thai trial provided just “modest” protection, it has raised hope that a more potent vaccine can be developed.“It is a really exciting time in AIDS vaccines. We are in an AIDS vaccine renaissance,” Berkley said. “The science is moving on as we are talking.”Despite his optimism, Berkley said that creating a vaccine against HIV remains a major scientific challenge. The primary reason HIV is so difficult to protect against is that the virus mutates very rapidly, so a vaccine that protects against one strain or substrain may provide little or no protection against another.The discovery of the new antibodies, some of which are particularly potent against HIV, offers both new candidates for a vaccine and new strategies short of development of a full vaccine. The antibodies themselves could be injected as a temporary immunization measure, much as gamma globulin was once given to protect against hepatitis A.Work toward a vaccine involves both branches of the human immune system, Berkley said. In addition to the branch that uses antibodies to destroy invading pathogens, the second branch of the immune system, called cell-mediated immunity, sends natural killer cells, macrophages, and other immune cells to attack invaders. Berkley said several efforts are under way to mobilize cell-mediated immunity against HIV.Researchers are also focusing on the best way to deliver a vaccine. Results on self-replicating vectors that multiply inside the body have been promising in laboratory monkeys, he said. Using the monkey analog to HIV, the simian immune virus, or SIV, research with self-replicating viral vectors has shown promising results, with 54 percent of those vaccinated able to entirely clear the virus from their bodies.Harvard’s teaching hospitals are among those institutions involved in vaccine development efforts, with Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center teaming up on one effort in clinical trials, together with IAVI and other collaborators.Berkley said it’s important to think about delivering a vaccine where it’s most needed once it’s developed. Though some believe that delivery of a vaccine to the developing world would naturally be a high priority, he said recent history with the vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) — a leading cause of cervical cancer — shows that it will take more than assumptions to deliver vaccines where they’re needed. Though the HPV vaccine was licensed in 2006, it is still unavailable in most of the developing world, Berkley said.last_img read more

Seven Life Lessons Learned as Dell Interns

first_imgThe following is a guest post from Amulya V. Dhupad and Ashwini Madivalara.It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the creditEvery year Dell opens its doors to interns around the world. In 2017, they had just shy of 2,000 interns join their offices and our 2018 class of interns is still growing. As interns, we come to Dell EMC from campus eager to learn and willing to grow in our field of choice. It is Dell’s responsibility to live up to these expectations while also conveying the culture of the company in an engaging, fun way.Recently our class of interns in India gathered from Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad for an event dubbed “Intern Mélange,” a FUN off-site for us to enjoy our peers while experiencing the five culture code pillars of Dell: Customers, Winning Together, Innovation, Results and Integrity.The day began with the value of ‘Customer’ and proceeded to work its way through all five culture code pillars. For ‘Customer,’ we were made to innovate ideas that helped reduce risk while delivering a product. The end of the activity put a light on the ‘Innovation’ culture of Dell. The second activity revolved around our culture code, ‘Winning Together.’ During the activity, teams of three had to help each other reach the desired goal. The journey towards the goal taught us how to help, when to help and the positive results in helping each other.The day flew by as we collaborated, laughed and continued to play games such as pace the parcel which brought some of us back to a feeling of childhood. Dell EMC has a way of teaching things via day to day experiences and now that our internship is coming to an end, we realize Dell’s culture is embedded in us. We headed home that day with a bag full of memories to cherish and learnings to build ourselves as better people than we are today. Drizzling rain added colors to our thoughts on our way back home as well as selfies, songs and some napping.As we drove back, many of the interns summed up their key learnings and realized how they could impact not only their careers, but also their approach to their everyday life. These learnings included:Learn to appreciate, help, support and encourage team membersPlan before you actExtend your helping hand; you lose nothingDon’t be a victim, or be responsible for others to be the victimBe a good observer; eyes can be a good listenerThere is no harm in helping others at same level, but it is always easier when you are a level upShowing gratitude costs nothingAt the end of the event, the following quote echoed in our minds: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”Today, life in IT sector means ‘continuous learning.’ It is a key to survive. The more you are up-to-date the better you perform, many companies invest in the growth of their employees to ensure that they constantly deliver valuable products and services. This investment is noticeable, appreciable and applicable. As a Dell EMC employee, I feel lucky to work in a company that invests in its employees and ensures that we stand by the company culture.Thank you Dell for investing in our growth.Amulya V. Dhupad is an intern at Dell EMC Bengaluru, India, in the quality engineer team at RSA – a security division of Dell EMC. She feels fortunate to begin her career working at Dell EMC and is looking forward for more opportunities to learn and grow along with Dell EMC.Ashwini Ashok Madivalara (left) is a programming enthusiast currently interning with RSA – a security division of Dell EMC in Bengaluru, India. When not programming she loves trekking and biking.last_img read more

Australia hail Smith as Bradman incarnate

first_imgMELBOURNE, Australia (Reuters) – The Steve Smith double-century at Old Trafford that continued his brilliant Ashes campaign has generated wonder Down Under, with Australia media branding him a modern-day Don Bradman yesterday.The Depression-era Bradman’s batting average of 99.94 invites no comparison but Smith’s feats in England mark him out as the next most effective tormenter of the nation’s bowlers.Back at the crease after missing the third Test through concussion, his 211 propelled him to 589 runs for the series at an average of 147.25, leaving England’s Headingley saviour Ben Stokes (327 at 81.75) well behind in second place.Smith’s three double-centuries against England is second only to Bradman’s record five, while his 11th Ashes ton moved him past Steve Waugh’s 10 into outright third overall.Only Bradman (19) and England’s Jack Hobbs (12) have more Ashes hundreds.“Books detail Bradman’s greatness, sepia toned newsreels of his deeds fill a museum that bears his name,” Russell Gould wrote glowingly in Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper.“There was even a song written about him.“‘Our Steve Smith’ is more likely to be a trending hashtag.“But however it’s captured this era, this display of sheer cricketing dominance will live well beyond this time, and this team.”Smith has now five centuries from his last six Tests against England and averages 65.37 in the Ashes, also second only to Bradman among Australian cricketers.His day-two exploits pushed Australia to a mammoth 497 for eight declared, with England 23 for one at the close of day two on Thursday, and under huge pressure to keep the series alive.Bradman’s lofty record of 5 028 Ashes runs has remained the benchmark for 70 years and 30-year-old Smith (2 615) may struggle to mow it down, even if his formidable gifts and hunger remain undimmed for years.But the former captain is well on the way to being regarded as one of the all-time greats, according to former Australia players.“He could be anything. We might be seeing history in the making here,” former Test batsman Mike Hussey said on ESPNcricinfo.“We think no-one can beat Bradman. I don’t think he’s going to even beat Bradman. But he maybe is pushing the bar higher and higher.”Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting described Smith as a “genius” and seemingly impervious to any bowler’s plans.“To think how good Bradman must have been – to be a third again better than what Steve Smith’s doing at the moment – is ridiculous,” Ponting told Cricket Australia’s website (cricket.com.au).“(Smith’s) got four, five, six years of good cricket ahead of him, which if you add it up, that’s probably another 80, 90 Test matches.“Then he’s played 150 games and could have all sorts of numbers and records by then and let’s hope he does, because the way he’s going about it now, the way he’s playing, he deserves to get the rewards from that.”last_img read more