Summary of Track A: Basic science

Deborah L. Birx*, Thomas VanCott, Nelson Michael, John McNeil, Nicholas Stamatos, Bruce Gilliam, Rachel Davis, Jean Carr, Francine McCutchan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Aim: To review Track A, which is organized into five broad areas of emphasis. Tools: A variety of new virologic tools are allowing researchers to more effectively evaluate many aspects of HIV, from various therapies and vaccine candidates to the recombination and international spread of genotypes. Pathogenesis: The recent understandings of HIV-1 pathogenesis have led to potential new treatment strategies of early aggressive treatment with combination drugs and the potential for biologic or immunologic therapy directed to blocking viral entry through second receptors. Treatment: HIV treatment focused on chemical/drug advances and treatment, and immunologic/genetic advances. Some areas of development include optimizing combination therapies using the oncology model; continued work on new preclinical compounds (e.g. integrase and tat/rev inhibitors); evaluation of viral reduction in all compartments; and resistance surveillance and prevention. Biologics, including fusin/CC-CKR5 inhibitors and CD8 HIV-1 suppressor factors, ex vivo expansion of T cells and in vivo expansion of effector CD8 cells continue to be developed as possible future treatments. Vaccines: In order to obtain worldwide control over HIV, we must have a universally effective vaccine. The question remains as to what specifically is required for a protective response. Mechanisms of CD8 suppression, and cellular and antibody correlates of protection were discussed as areas of research that may shed light on the critical protective immune response. Genotypes: Discussion of HIV genotypes focused on international subtypes, correlates of diversity, and HIV-1 recombination. Numerous groups have shown an international intermixing of HIV-1 strains. Recombination during transcription was found to lead to extensive genomic shift and increased diversity, which may also increase HIV-1 fitness and enhance transmission. Conclusions: The spread and adaptation of HIV-1 is occurring independently of borders. Therefore, HIV-1 research must be global; vaccine development must be international in concept and application; collaboration in all areas is essential for success in combating HIV; and finally, the challenge for the future will be to actively involve all basic scientists in the science of the international epidemics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S85-S106
JournalAIDS, Supplement
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • AIDS
  • Basic science
  • HIV-1


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