HIV/AIDS Drugs: October 2006 Archives

retrovirus diagramResearchers at the University of Minnesota have identified a protein that enables viruses such as HIV to infect cells and spread through the body.

This discovery gives drug developers a target to discover new types of drugs to stop the virus from spreading.

The research, led by Nikunj Somia, Ph.D., assistant professor of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, will be published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and will appear in a subsequent print edition of the journal.

"Learn to Recognize Acute HIV Infection"


A new tool is now available to help physicians and other health care providers identify patients in the earliest, highly infectious stages of HIV infection.

"Learn to Recognize Acute HIV Infection," a poster and fact sheet from the HIV Medicine Association, is designed to help clinicians identify the symptoms most strongly associated with acute HIV infection and to assess a patient's risk for HIV to determine whether diagnostic laboratory tests are warranted. 

Acute HIV infection is the period shortly following acquisition of HIV when persons experiencing HIV infection are highly infectious and often sick enough to seek medical care. As many as 90 percent of HIV patients experience symptoms of acute HIV infection within one to four weeks of exposure.

Most potent antiretroviral drugs (e.g., HIV-1 protease inhibitors) poorly penetrate the blood-brain barrier. Brain distribution can be limited by the efflux transporter, P-glycoprotein (P-gp).

The ability of a novel drug delivery system (block co-polymer P85) that inhibits P-gp, to increase the efficacy of antiretroviral drugs in brain was examined using a severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mouse model of HIV-1 encephalitis (HIVE).

Does HIV drug trigger leprosy?


Antiretroviral (ARV) treatment used to treat HIV may cause leprosy in a few people. Though only a dozen cases have been documented till now, international experts fear it may trigger a leprosy epidemic in countries such as India, with many cases of leprosy and a steadily growing number of people on ARVs.

Public health experts in India and the Asia-Pacific region, however, believe that the threat of ARVs uncovering hidden leprosy infection in stray cases is not cause for concern. "ARVs have been in use globally for almost two decades and I have been using them in India since 1990. Though almost 50 per cent people with HIV have a TB infection, I have not come across even one case of leprosy in people on ARVs in India or the Asia Pacific," says Dr Chinkholal Thangsing, Asia Pacific Bureau Chief, AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

Methadone therapy, needle exchanges leading HIV battle


China has made progress in curbing the spread of HIV by promoting methadone therapy and providing clean needles for drug addicts, experts said.

By July 1, 2006, 101 methadone clinics had been set up with 204 more due to open by the end of the year, said Wu Zunyou, director of the National Centre for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention.

Wu said a total of 15,678 people have received methadone treatment since 2004 when the first clinic was established in Gejiu, in Southwest China's Yunnan Province.

Bristol wins U.S. approval for single anti-HIV pill


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said on Friday that U.S. regulators approved a single-capsule form of its Reyataz HIV drug to be taken as part of combination drug therapy.

Taken once a day, the 300 milligram Reyataz can replace two 150 mg capsules of the drug and will be available within a week, the company said.


Immune system discovery could aid fight against TB


While this article is related to fighting against TB, the described method can be also used in creat anti-AIDS drugs.

The scientists believe their research will also be of interest to those developing new drugs to combat HIV, which work by inhibiting the CCR5 receptor, which plays an important role in HIV-infection. The new research suggests that such drugs could impair the ability to fight off TB in HIV-infected patients receiving CCR5 receptor antagonists. TB is a big problem for individuals with HIV, as their weakened immune system renders them highly susceptible to this disease.

FDA approves MedMira's rapid HIV test


HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- MedMira said Thursday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared its Reveal G3 rapid HIV test, which delivers results in less than three minutes.

MedMira said the Reveal G3 test is the fastest rapid test approved in the United States. Previous versions of the Reveal test were approved by the FDA in 2003 and 2004.

HIV vaccine trials get backing


Another possible HIV vaccine gets a sponsor. However, "taking the vaccine through to licensure could cost $50 million." Why is it so expensive to get a license for vaccine? Where will this money go to? If the vaccine works, why there are so many obstacles?

TORONTO -- An HIV-AIDS vaccine under development at the University of Western Ontario appears headed for human clinical trials with the announcement yesterday a Korean company will finance the work.

HIV exploits competition among T-cells


HOUSTON, Oct. 16, 2006 -- A new HIV study shows how competition among the human immune system's T cells allows the virus to escape destruction and eventually develop into full-blown AIDS. The study, which employs a computer model of simultaneous virus and immune system evolution, also suggests a new strategy for vaccinating against the virus – a strategy that the computer simulations suggest may prevent the final onset of AIDS.

The research, which is slated for publication in Physical Review Letters, is available online at

"Competition among T cells exerts a small influence for most diseases, but it's fatal for HIV," said study co-author Michael Deem, Rice University's John W. Cox Professor in Biochemical and Genetic Engineering and professor of physics and astronomy.

Cipla launches new anti-HIV drug


NEW DELHI: Pharma major Cipla on Thursday launched its fixed dose single pill anti-HIV drug Viraday priced at Rs 5,200 a month.

Viraday is a combination of three anti-HIV drugs -- Efavirenz 600 mg, Tenofovir 300 mg and Emtricitabine 200 mg, a company official said here.

"We are offering the drug at Rs 5,200 a month which is a fraction of the international price of approximately USD 1,100 (about Rs 52,800 a month)," he said.

While the company is introducing this drug in India for the first time, it is also looking at export opportunity, especially in Africa, the official said.

AIDS newsDuke University biomedical engineers have developed a computer tool they say could lead to improvements in topical microbicides being developed for women to use to prevent infection by the virus that causes AIDS.

Providing women with improved microbicides is a pressing challenge because women now account for a growing number of new infections worldwide, the researchers said.

Roche AIDS drug shows benefits when combined


AIDS newsZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss drugmaker Roche AG said on Thursday that up to 95 percent of patients treated with its drug Fuzeon in combination with another new kind of AIDS drug can achieve undetectable levels of HIV.

That compared with 60 to 70 percent of patients who achieved undetectable HIV after taking Merck & Co. Inc.'s experimental drug MK-0518 without Fuzeon, Roche said. The Merck drug is a so-called integrase inhibitor designed to block the reproduction of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Anti-HIV drugs free at DMC: health official


AIDS newsPHILIPPINES - A Departement of Health official said anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs for adults, or medications for the treatment of infection by retroviruses, primarily HIV, are available for free at the Davao Medical Center.

Department of Health Undersecretary Ethelyn Nieto, during the ongoing 8th Philippine National Convention on Aids at the Royal Mandaya Hotel, said ARV drugs will be released to any person depending on the patient's viral load or the concentration of a virus, such as HIV, in the blood.

AIDS discoverer hopeful of new vaccine approach

AIDS newsby Roxanne Khamsi,, 22 Sep 2006

The scientist who helped discover AIDS in the mid-1980s is developing a promising new vaccine approach that may protect people against many strains of HIV.

The approach involves targeting a common molecular structure, or conformation, of the HIV virus’s protein shell, explains Robert Gallo, who in 1984 identified the virus that causes AIDS with the French scientist Luc Montagnier.

Experts test drugs that fight neuroAIDS


by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer, 2 Oct 2006

WASHINGTON - It's an Achilles' heel of HIV therapy: The AIDS virus can sneak into the brain to cause dementia, despite today's best medicines. Now scientists are beginning to test drugs that may protect against the memory loss and other symptoms of so-called neuroAIDS, which afflicts at least one in five people with HIV and is becoming more common as patients live longer.

With almost 1 million Americans, and almost 40 million people worldwide, living with HIV, that's a large and underrecognized toll.

By Neville Hodgkinson, The Business Online, 10 Sep 2006

HE widespread belief that the latest drugs for fighting Aids are reducing death rates has been confounded by a huge study covering 10 years of treatment which involved more than 22,000 patients in Europe and North America.

The study, reported in The Lancet, compared groups of HIV-positive patients started on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) at different times between 1995 and 2003, and followed them for one year. Some of the major findings showed that although HAART appeared to be getting better at bringing down levels of the virus, there was no decrease in overall death rates. In fact, patients’ risk of developing or dying from Aids has actually increased in recent years.

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