Later this month, the next Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) will be underway in Seattle. While we've already previewed some of the upcoming presentations at CROI 2015, let's take a look back to see why CROI has proven to be a groundbreaking conference in recent years.
2014: Zero HIV Infections Despite Condomless Sex, Due to Effective Treatment
Perhaps the most notable 2014 development in HIV overall, last year we learned the results of the PARTNER study at CROI. This study saw zero cases of HIV transmission among mixed-status couples when the HIV-positive partner was on treatment with a viral load below 200. These were real-world results based on 767 mixed-status couples in 75 sites across 14 European countries, highlighting a big victory for treatment as prevention.
2013: Functional Cure for "Mississippi Baby" After Very Early Treatment
This was the biggest HIV story of 2013, and brought HIV national attention like it hadn't seen since the cure of Timothy Brown. A baby born in Mississippi, dubbed the "Mississippi Baby," was at the time considered functionally cured of HIV after being treated within 31 hours of life.
While some questioned whether the baby was actually infected at all or if this was just a case of successful post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), sadly, the child relapsed after 27 months of not being on treatment.
Although the child's "15 minutes" lasted only 27 months, the case shined a spotlight on very early treatment and the possibility of inducing sustained virologic remission, with further research looking at how and why.
2012: Adding New HIV Drugs to the Arsenal
While CROI didn't permeate mainstream media in 2012 as much as it did in subsequent years, we did receive some noteworthy results on three upcoming drugs. These updates were particularly welcome at a time when some worried that the HIV drug pipeline was beginning to dry up.
What we know as elvitegravir/cobicistat/emtricitabine/tenofovir (Stribild) today was once known as "the Quad," and it was found to be non-inferior to efavirenz/tenofovir/emtricitabine (Atripla), the gold standard at the time. While the magic number for treatment regimens seemed to be three, this new once-daily single tablet regimen contained four drugs.
At CROI 2012, we also heard positive updates on dolutegravir (Tivicay, DTG), a new integrase inhibitor, which was then approved in 2013.
While we're looking forward to updated results on tenofovir alafenamide fumarate (TAF) at CROI 2015, it was at CROI 2012 that we heard rumblings of this tenofovir pro-drug, which was then known as GS-7340 and already showing better potency at lower doses with less toxicity than tenofovir (Viread).
Doors Shut on CROI Archives
While in the past, CROI has made most abstracts, webcasts and posters available to the public for free, sadly, materials from CROIs prior to 2014 are currently unavailable.
"The CROI Foundation previously partnered with a conference manager that constructed, owned, maintained, and has proprietary rights to the display formats and graphical elements of the [previous CROI] website. The former website was taken off-line by the former manager," the foundation states on its current website, adding that, "Efforts are underway to recover the content from prior conferences."