The overall goal of EPIICAL is:
To establish a predictive in vitro and in vivo platform to optimise the management of perinatally HIV-infected children and to inform treatment strategies including Novel Disease Modifying Therapies (NDMTs) with the goal to reach HIV remission
The Consortium (composed by 26 International Institutions) intends to achieve this through the creation of an innovative predictive platform that will use the data obtained from cohorts of early treated HIV-infected children population available to the EPIICAL Consortium around the world.
The EPIICAL Consortium aims to develop and apply statistical and mathematical modelling to data derived from these cohorts of early treated infants and children to identify the factors (Virological, Immunological and Transcriptomic profiles) associated to early control of HIV infection after ART initiation as well as those which follow ART interruption.
These biologic response profiles will generate new biomarkers and endpoints to be used to:
- Predict the response of a patient on ART with undetectable viral load (<50 copies/ml) to interruption of ART;
- Identify patients likely to achieve post-treatment Virological control.
Finally we will test these predictive profiles in a platform of proof of concept (PoC) studies conducted in early treated HIV-infected children population aiming:
- To evaluate the capacity of selected NDMTs to reproduce the signature associated with best Virological control
- To evaluate the ability of in vitro testing to predict response to NDMTs
- To evaluate whether the timing and duration of ART influence response to NDMTs
The Project addresses the needs of children and their families, and advances the science of HIV remission for clinicians, researchers, the community, regulators and industry. The knowledge gained has the potential to transform the lives of HIV-infected children worldwide with a broader applicability to treatment of HIV in adults, particularly those who initiate early ART.