COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people living with HIV

COVID-19 is still being studied around the world. However, based on the results of studies with people living with HIV (PLHIV), the risk of COVID-19 infection among PLHIV is higher than in the general population. In addition, there is growing evidence that PLHIV infected with COVID-19 are at increased risk of severe disease.

The July 2021 WHO report states that HIV is an independent risk factor for serious illness during hospitalization and nosocomial mortality. People with severe immunodeficiency who do not receive antiretroviral therapy (ART) and / or low CD4 levels (less than 200 cells / μl) are particularly at increased risk of infection and severe COVID-19.

Vaccination is required to prevent infection and complications of COVID-19. PLHIV are no exception, but should be included in the higher priority group for vaccination. All COVID-19 vaccines used in Ukraine (AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer, CoronaVac) are listed by the WHO and are safe for PLHIV.

This conclusion is based on available data obtained after clinical trials. None of these vaccines are "live". There is no reason to expect that these vaccines will be less safe for people with weakened immune systems. COVID-19 vaccines have passed the same safety tests as all other vaccines against infectious diseases and meet strict scientific standards.

PLHIV have also been included in clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines. According to the results of these studies, no data on the higher level and severity of adverse reactions compared to the general population were obtained. This indicates the safety of their use among PLHIV.

PLHIV can be vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of CD4 lymphocyte levels or viral load. It is particularly important to receive COVID-19 vaccination in patients with a CD4 cell count of 200 cells / μl and below, as well as in patients who have been taking ART for less than 6 months or who have not received ART at all. Vaccination is indicated for all PLHIV, regardless of the clinical stage of HIV infection.

Current recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal and Fetal Medicine (SMFM) state that pregnant HIV-infected women who have no contraindications to vaccination for comorbidities other than HIV infection should not refuse vaccination against COVID-19


Pill for life: an innovative drug against tuberculosis has been registered in Ukraine

Ukraine is expanding its treatment facilities for people with extensive drug-resistant tuberculosis. This became possible due to the registration by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine of an innovative drug - Pretomanid. The drug will give hope to those patients who had a low chance of recovery precisely because of the ineffectiveness of existing drugs against severe forms of tuberculosis.

The use of a new drug is shown in the innovative mode BPaL in terms of surgical studies, when instead of 4-5 potent drugs used three drugs and with a shorter duration of administration.

"The introduction of the new TB drug Pretomanid in Ukraine is one step closer to the most valuable - saving the lives of about 1,300 people with resistant forms of tuberculosis, as well as the ability to effectively treat at least 90% of people with tuberculosis according to the WHO recommended target. This will be a significant contribution to reducing the prevalence and mortality from drug-resistant tuberculosis," - said Yana Terleyeva, head of the Public Health Center's TB Control and Counteraction Department.

Ukraine is the 5th country in the world to authorize the use of Pretomanid by regulators, which reaffirms the country's global commitment to modern approaches to the treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis.

In August 2020, the FDA approved the use of the new anti-TB drug Pretomanid for the treatment of tuberculosis with broad resistance to treatment, as well as cases of failure to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.


The WHO has approved a pediatric formulation of HIV

WHO has issued Macleods Pharmaceuticals Ltd. certificate of prequalification for the drug dolutegravir 10 mg. It is intended for the treatment of HIV in children as part of complex therapy.

This is the first 10 mg dose that has passed the WHO retraining procedure, which evaluates the quality, safety and effectiveness of medicines. In addition, a similar dosage of 10 mg from Mylan has a certificate of prior approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to the Coalition for Readiness.

In 2014, the Medical Patent Pool and ViiV signed a license agreement for dolutegravir. And in last April, a special agreement was signed on four countries: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Malaysia. Three companies became co-licensees: Viatris (Mylan), Hetero and SUN. And Macleods is a sublicensee under a standard agreement.

Dolutegravir is an antiviral drug for the treatment of second-generation integrase inhibitors. Back in 2019, the WHO recommended this drug for the treatment of HIV as the best first and second line treatment for all groups, including pregnant women and women of childbearing age.


DigiPrEP: A Pilot Trial to Evaluate the Feasibility, Acceptability, and Accuracy of a Digital Pill System to Measure PrEP Adherence in Men Who Have Sex With Men Who Use Substances

A team of scientists from Brigham University (USA) has published the results of a study of digital tablets (DPS), which will help adhere to the daily regimen of pre-exposure HIV (PrEP). According to scientists, for some groups who do not follow medication regimens, a digital pill system can be a great solution. The trials were conducted with men who had sex with men (MSM) who had experience with psychoactive substances. The results of the study indicate the accuracy of 98%.

"Digital pills are not scary. These are new devices used in clinical practice to measure adherence to treatment, ”said study co-author Peter Chai, MD.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is given to people with HIV-negative status who have a high level of infection through sexual contact or injecting drug use. When taken properly, PrEP provides almost 99% protection against HIV. Some people find it very difficult to follow a medication regimen, especially those who suffer from psychoactive substance disorders. In this regard, new technologies that can accurately measure adherence can help people maintain protection from HIV.

The scheme of digital pills is simple. Each dose of PrEP is placed in a gelatin capsule with a radio frequency transmitter - thus creating a digital pill. When a person swallows such a pill, stomach acid dissolves the gel coating and activates a transmitter that sends a radio signal that can be tracked at a distance of no more than a meter.

The researchers tested the digital pill system on 16 cisgender MSMs who have experienced drug use. Participants were given a digital device that works as a scanner in the store - as soon as a person takes a tablet, the device makes a digital recording, which can be sent to a smartphone to health care providers.

To check the accuracy of the reader, the researchers compared the data on the number of unused tablets returned at the end of each month and blood samples in which the concentration of the main component of PrEP was measured. As a result, the accuracy of measuring the tablets was 98%.

The researchers also interviewed participants after the test. Patients generally had a positive opinion of the digital pill system. According to the participants, the system is easy to study and integrate into their daily lives. Many also noted "peace of mind" because the program confirmed that they had taken their pill.

Researchers hope to turn the reader into a bracelet for future use. But they also point out that DPS technology on such a small scale is expensive. However, in the case of mass production, the price can be significantly reduced.

"While this technology is unlikely to be used in cheaper or less effective drugs, it could improve outcomes for expensive life-saving drugs, such as congestive heart failure, hepatitis C or diabetes. In the age of digital healthcare, technologies such as DPS combine doctors with patients much better, ”the researchers concluded.




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