Aggressive programmes to treat HIV-positive people using highly active antiretroviral therapy could reduce the number of new HIV cases by as much as 60 percent, according to a study published on Tuesday in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, Toronto's Globe and Mail reports.
Substantial, but imperfect adherence a major risk factor for resistance amongst patients starting HAART
Individuals starting HAART for the first time with a high viral load, low CD4 cell count, and substantial, but imperfect levels of adherence are significantly more likely to develop resistance to antiretrovirals during the first 30 months of treatment, according to a Canadian study published in the February 1st edition of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
The coronavirus that causes the respiratory disease was discovered and sequenced in record time because of unprecedented international collaboration. Now everyone is staking a claim. Who owns it? That's quickly becoming a point of interest now that the genetic makeup for severe acute respiratory syndrome has been sequenced -- raising questions that could ultimately affect the next advances in the development of SARS diagnostic and treatment tools. The answers will also set the precedent for the handling of genetic information of future emerging infections. For now, at least two government agencies have applied for a U.S. patent on the coronavirus that causes SARS, and for its gene sequence. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Canada's British Columbia Cancer Agency have both publicly acknowledged that they have taken such action. And, according to several news reports, many more public and private entities may be attempting to secure patents on the virus or its various parts. The full list will not be available until at least 18 months after application, in accordance with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office policies. The World Health Organization is very concerned that anything to do with potential patenting should not lead to any drop-off in the unprecedented solidarity amongst researchers on the SARS investigation, including the development of diagnostic tests, drugs for treatment and a vaccine, said Melinda Henry, a WHO spokeswoman. Patent law experts say that fights after this kind of collaboration are common. They mention the battles over HIV and the hepatitis C virus and their gene sequences as the most notable. They also say that in their experience, rival patent filings do not impede future collaborations. The parties will probably come to some kind of amicable agreement. There is also a significant chance that the actual applications may not conflict with each other. Even if these things are legitimate, they're not going to protect anything. Virtually everything is patentable, but not all of them are enforceable, said Jeffrey Oster, PhD, senior vice president of intellectual property at CombiMatrix Corp., a life science company based in Mukilteo, Wash., that has filed patents for molecules that may turn out to be therapeutic against infection with the virus. (Source: Victoria Stagg Elliott, AMNews, May 26, 2003)
A new programme to treat HIV/AIDS in the workplace, tested on several hundred workers at a sugar mill at Hlabisa in northern KwaZulu Natal, has yielded excellent results, with a 90 % drop in new HIV infections in one year. The programme, devised by Dr Chester Morris, assistant professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, has now been offered to Epicentre, a new Durban-based organisation that is involving the business sector in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Morris said more than 50% of the workers who were HIV-positive at the sugar mill came forward for voluntary AIDS testing after information about the programme was given to the workers. In addition, 90% of the workers who were HIV-positive entered into the care aspect of the programme. Morris said condom distribution at the mill increased by 400% in one year as a result of the programme and the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases declined by 90 % in one year. There was also a 90% drop in the incidence of new HIV infections. Morris said peer education was a key element of the success of the programme at Hlabisa. Central to any HIV/ AIDS policy was the necessity to link care with preventive strategies. Instead of expensive antiretrovirals, simple antibiotics had been used. He said the employees at the mill had been given hope because it had been pointed out that, while up to 30% of the workforce might have been HIV-positive, more than 60% were HIV-negative. (Source: The Star, 16 July 2001)