These are some of the things EPIICAL is doing:

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community collaboration cutting-edge corroboration cohort child-centered EPIICAL

Catalysing a multidisciplinary, multicultural approach.

EPIICAL set up an international collaboration that informed promising HIV-1 therapeutic strategies. Since 2016, EPIICAL researchers have worked collaboratively to develop and apply data to inform novel therapeutic strategies in children who have perinatally acquired HIV to reach remission of the virus.

Setting up cohorts of children living with HIV in Africa and Europe.

These cohorts provide deep insight into the viral reservoir, and immune response characteristics of children treated early.

Check out our Cohorts pages

Launching and managing HVRRICANE, the only ongoing study on HIV vaccine in children with perinatally acquired HIV.

This includes evaluating therapeutic vaccine effects on the child’s viral reservoir and immune response.

Gathering further evidence of efficacy for early therapy.

We have gathered evidence of early therapy’s efficacy in reducing the virus in children’s blood through several virological and immunological studies conducted in the CARMA and the EARTH cohorts. These studies will pave the way for further therapeutic strategies toward HIV remission using immunotherapeutic approaches. The high-quality data generated by the consortium is vital for improving the current understanding of HIV remission while paving the way to unravel the mechanisms behind viral remission.

Innovating the current methodology using technology.

EPIICAL launched technological platforms to innovate the existing methodological approaches to HIV research by adding cutting-edge technologies, such as epigenetic studies, RNA sequencing, and evaluation of Humoral Immunity. These platforms are now available to the Penta ID Network for further application in future studies.

The platforms:

Conducting a social science program and implementing a retention strategy.

Because of the adherence issues that children and adolescents in the EPIICAL studies are experiencing, the consortium is supporting a Social Science study to improve our approach to retention and adherence.

The Social/Behavioral Research substudy is analyzing the expectations and attitudes of caregivers whose children are enrolled in the EARTH study in order to inform future cohort development and the planning and conduct of early-phase trials. 

What have we achieved? 

Emerging data suggests that ART education through EARTH is meeting caregivers’ needs, though access to more palatable medications is needed. Interventions directed to the mother-child dyad, such as addressing transmission guilt, enhancing parenting self-efficacy, educating about and assessing child development, and building on positive perceptions of motherhood may improve both. 

“Critical to the EPIICAL project is the contribution of social science. Thinking about how and why people feel, think and act can improve protocol design, inform interventions, support voluntary choice in clinical interventions, and finally improve health and wellbeing outcomes for children and their mothers enrolled into studies.” Holly Peay, EPIICAL Social Scientist

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