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Drug fights resistant forms of HIV

4th April 2007

An international study has shown that a newly approved drug is effective against multidrug-resistant HIV.

hiv

The drug, darunavir, belongs to a class of drugs called proease inhibitors. It was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last June, under the brand name Prezista.

The study, published in The Lancet, included 230 adults with HIV in Europe and North and South America who had already tried other available medications to no avail.

It found that darunavir, known in the US by its brand-name Prezista, was safe, well-tolerated and 'a truly effective agent against multidrug-resistant HIV', according to an editorial in The Lancet.

Over 48 weeks, researchers including Bonaventura Clotet of the Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol and irsiCaixa Foundation in Barcelona, tested a group of patients taking darunavir and ritonavir (Norvir), against groups taking other kinds of HIV drugs.

Among patients taking darunavir and Norvir, 61% reached the researchers' goal for a substantial drop in HIV viral load in their blood, compared with 15% of those not taking darunavir, the study found.

Patients taking darunavir and Norvir also had a bigger increase in their CD4 immune cell count, compared with those not taking darunavir.

In short, the darunavir-and-Norvir plan appeared to have a greater impact in fighting HIV and in boosting the patients' immune systems, it said.

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