28th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2021)

6 – 10 March 2021, virtual conference


For many people, CROI 2021 this anniversary marks the first recognition of the potential global risk from COVID-19: the start of a difficult year, unimaginable before.

A year ago, as delegates were either arriving in Boston or preparing to fly, CROI rapidly adapted a few days before the meeting was due to start, to become the first large virtual conference.

This year CROI was planned as a fully virtual meeting, and included approximately 3500 registered delegates.

The programme was exciting as it always is, with a significant and appropriate focus on COVID-19, including first presentations for new treatments. It also included important presentations on new and pipeline HIV drugs for both prevention and treatment, many using long-acting formulations.

The virtual meeting retained the regular CROI format and included the options to discuss presentations using chat and Q&A options to ask questions about oral presentations in real time.

One advance – a good one – is a new format for the posters. Rather than 1000+ posters, available as PDF files, the virtual meeting has edited posters to around six summary slides with a 4-minute narrative by the presenter (now called a ‘science spotlight’). Each virtual poster also allows an online dialogue with the presenter that remains online for general viewing and is a pretty good way to retain something of the direct dialogue that we 

Another change though was more difficult was suggesting that a 6-month pay wall before the presentations become open access. CROI has always developed a leading role in democratising access to the latest medical research and at the start of the conference even the abstract book was planned to need a paid subscription. This is disappointing and will hopefully be rethought.

At least one community sign on letter with more than 200 organisations and individuals has already asked for the whole meeting to have a much shorter window to open access. As a result, the abstract book is now available:

Currently, content on the main conference website is only accessible to delegates, although this decision might be reviewed.

Even if all links are not yet active to non-delegates, i-Base reports will still include hyperlinks to the abstract, webinars and full presentations. We apologise for this and hope CROI reconsiders their decision after the meeting.

Reports in HTB will also therefore focus on shorter articles to emphasise summary conclusions, with comment, as a way to cover a wider range of presentations.

Early reports will be added to this page as they become available.

This article was first posted on 6 March and is updated as information becomes available.

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.