HIV/AIDS Drugs: November 2006 Archives

Study: Break from medications dangerous

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aids pillsOne of the largest-ever studies of HIV treatment has found that patients who temporarily stop taking their powerful medicines more than double their risk of dying.

Many HIV patients have sought doctors' permission to periodically take a break from the tiresome regimen of AIDS-fighting drugs, which can cause incapacitating side effects. Several small studies have suggested "holidays" from medication might be OK for patients who appear to be doing well.

But the new study, published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests such a strategy can be dangerous: The rate of disease progression or death was more than twice as high in patients who took medications intermittently than in those who took them every day.

Activists hail Thai move to make generic AIDS drug

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aids generic drugs BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand, faced with ballooning costs for HIV-AIDS drugs, has issued its first compulsory license to make a cheap version of a foreign-made drug and fired a shot across the bow of big pharmaceutical companies.

The action drew a swift riposte from U.S. drug maker Merck & Co Inc, which holds the patent on Efavirenz. The firm denounced the Health Ministry decision to issue a five-year license for domestic production and imports of a generic version of the anti-retroviral drug.

But AIDS activists and health experts cheered loudly.

"This is both a brave and a progressive step by the Royal Thai Government to place the interests of people living with HIV in Thailand front and center," UNAIDS country coordinator Patrick Brenny told Reuters on Thursday.

viramuneOn the occasion of World Aids Day 2006 Boehringer Ingelheim stated that its patent rights to Viramune® (nevirapine) do not prevent access to this medication in low income countries.

The company has granted out 7 voluntary licences so far for generic production of nevirapine products in developing countries. Boehringer Ingelheim remains open to further initiatives of pharmaceutical companies producing generics in developing countries.

In addition to the well-established Boehringer Ingelheim programmes, like the Viramune® Donation Program, the reduced pricing schemes for chronic Viramune® therapy in developing countries, the granting of voluntary licences and the commitment to new HIV drug development, and further philanthropic initiatives in developing countries, the company made this clear as an additional step to help provide access to life-saving therapy for patients in need in developing countries.

Mining co's help fund Australia's Virax African HIV trial

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viraxSYDNEY, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Australian biotech firm Virax Holdings Ltd. (<VHL.AX>) said on Monday eight big mining companies had agreed to pay for trials of its HIV vaccine in South Africa, which is battling one of the world's worst AIDS crises. Virax applied to South Africa's drugs regulator in September for approval to conduct a clinical trial of its VIR201 HIV vaccine, with global mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd./Plc. (<BHP.AX> <BHP.L>) as the main sponsor.

On Monday it said another seven mining and metals firms from Australia, Britain, Japan and South Africa had offered funding.

Details of the total funding were not disclosed, but Virax spokesman Tim Duncan said the typical cost for trials of this size was usually between $5 million and $6 million.

South Africa says AIDS drugs rollout on course

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HIV in AfricaJOHANNESBURG (AFP) - South Africa has sought to deflect criticism that it was dragging its feet on the rollout of AIDS drugs, saying some 60,000 people had been added to the programme in the past year.

The health ministry also defended controversial Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, who has drawn flak for championing beetroot and garlic to combat the disease and for failing to speed up the rollout of anti-retrovirals.

"The minister of health can announce that the number of people initiated on antiretroviral therapy through the Comprehensive Plan on HIV and AIDS has increased to 235,378 by the end of September 2006," spokesman Sibani Mngadi said in a statement.

Cipla's low-cost HIV drug to make big waves globally

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indian researcher (c) APCipla's drug Viraday for the treatment of HIV is set to make big waves globally. Viraday is the only low cost version of three highly priced HIV drugs, reports CNBC-TV18.

However, Cipla Chairman Dr Yusuf Hamied says while Viraday will help  HIV patients, going forward, such combinations may not be available due to the patent regime.

"This is the first line new generation HIV, which is just 1 tablet a day for adults. We brought this out because all the three components are pre-'95 drugs," said Yusuf Hamied, Chairman, Cipla.

(c) medscapeAntiretroviral drug therapy (ART) of HIV continues to improve, with current regimens offering greater convenience, tolerability, and even the ability to retain activity when resistance has developed, compared with the first highly active ART (HAART) regimens available a decade ago. The study of antiretroviral (ARV) drug resistance is crystallizing into distinct categories:

  • The prevalence and clinical implications of transmitted or primary HIV resistance;
  • the genetic mechanisms of drug resistance during initial treatment failure;
  • the implications of cross-resistance for salvage therapy with drugs belonging to previously used drug classes; and
  • the optimal use of new drug classes for treatment of persons in whom previous regimens failed.

Although only a small proportion of presentations at the 46th ICAAC were devoted to HIV drug resistance, there were several abstracts that extended current knowledge in each of these categories.

HAARTContext: Highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) usage in India is escalating. With the government of India launching the free HAART rollout as part of the "3 by 5" initiative, many people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) have been able to gain access to HAART medications.

Currently, the national HAART centers are located in a few district hospitals (in the high- and medium-prevalence states) and have very stringent criteria for enrolling PLHA. Patients who do not fit these criteria or patients who are too ill to undergo the prolonged wait at the government hospitals avail themselves of nongovernment organization (NGO) services in order to take HAART medications.

In addition, the government program has not yet started providing second-line HAART (protease inhibitors). Hence, even with the free HAART rollout, NGOs with the expertise to provide HAART continue to look for funding opportunities and other innovative ways of making HAART available to PLHA. Currently, no study from Indian NGOs has compared the direct and indirect costs of solely managing opportunistic infections (OIs) vs HAART.

Bayelsa to pay HIV carriers N10,000 monthly, free drugs

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NigeriaNIGERIA - Governor Goodluck Jonathan of Bayelsa State has affirmed the administration’s determination to come up with a master plan for the development of Yenogoa, the state capital even as he has taken  education as the first priority of his government.

At an interactive session with Bayelsans living in Abuja, Monday, Governor Jonathan also disclosed the government’s policy of giving N10,000 monthly to carriers of the HIV/AIDS virus in addition to distribution of free anti-retroviral drugs. The session which was thronged by Bayelsans living in the federal capital also had in attendance, the President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Prof. Kimse Okoko, the state’s immediate past commissioner for Information, Mr. Oronto Douglas and top Federal Government officials from the state living in Abuja.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the HIV/AIDS Drugs category from November 2006.

HIV/AIDS Drugs: October 2006 is the previous archive.

HIV/AIDS Drugs: December 2006 is the next archive.

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