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Researchers Announce New Breakthrough Treatments in Fight Against AIDS

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by zomba, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. zomba

    zomba JF-Expert Member

    Feb 11, 2009
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    Researchers Announce New Breakthrough Treatments in Fight Against AIDS

    [​IMG]For decades, medical researchers have been working to develop cures, vaccines, and other preventative methods to rid the world of AIDS. And if the presentations at today’s Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections are any indication, we may be on the verge of several breakthroughs.

    In a series of trials, researchers gave around 3,000 women samples of the vaginal gel Pro 2000, which is made by Indevus Pharmaceuticals Inc. Comparing the women to other women in similar risk groups, the researchers found that the women who’d used the Pro 2000 gel were 30 percent less likely to become infected with the HIV virus than women who were not using contraception.

    "This is the first study that now shows that we have a promising candidate," head researcher Dr. Salim Abdool Karim from the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa said at a news conference.

    "We do not regard it as a definitive conclusion that PRO 2000 is a microbicide but we certainly view it as very promising."

    A “microbicide” is a gel or cream that can protect against the HIV presence when a partner refuses to use a condom. Such a treatment is in high demand in Africa, where millions of women are catching the HIV virus from their infected husbands, and refuse to use birth control because they want to have children.

    The initial trial isn’t large enough to prove that the Pro 2000 gel is definitively responsible for the promising results, but researchers are eager to learn more about this medical advance. It won’t take long to reach a consensus: London’s Medical Research Council has ordered a trial of the gel with 9,500 women, a sample group more than three times the size of the initial tests.

    Another promising development in AIDS prevention is the creation of Gilead’s Viread and Truvada drugs. These drugs have only been tested in monkeys to date, but in trials, a gel version of the drugs protected the monkeys completely from infection during intercourse. An oral version of Truvada, given to monkeys both before and after exposure to the HIV virus through the rectum, also prevented most of the monkeys from getting infected.

    Though further research is still needed, the results may mean that people can take the pills prior to having sex to avoid the possibility of becoming infected with the HIV virus.

    These treatments are still in early stages, and there’s no telling how successful they’ll prove to be in solving the AIDS epidemic—but with more than 32 million people around the world dying of the disease, a solution can’t come fast enough.

    How you can help: To give your support to groups working to eradicate the HIV virus, make a contribution to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, or one of the other highly-regarded nonprofits listed in our AIDS Giving Guide.

    Researchers Announce New Breakthrough Treatments in Fight Against AIDS