HTB: no. 7 – plus HIV and COVID-19 (1 July 2021)

This issue contains a good balance of HIV and COVID-19 reports.

For HIV, this includes data on the low rates of vertical transmission in the UK, presented at BHIVA. There is also exciting news that 6-monthly lenacapavir has been submitted to the US FDA as a treatment for MDR HIV. Also from the US, the latest update to the main treatment guidelines.

And for COVID-19, we included concerns about lower vaccine efficacy in people with reduced immune systems, including when the CD4 count is very low (< 50 cells/mm3).

As these reports have increased, the UK released plans to allow third vaccinations to all adults, though starting with those at highest risk. The data that supports this proposed programme, rather than one limited to highest risk groups, however, haven’t been released.

This raises questions about expected protection from currently authorised vaccines against the Delta variant. It will also widen the gap between vaccine coverage in high- compared to low-income countries.