New drugs bring hope for HIV patients

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London, Jan 28 (UNI) A new drug for HIV patients who have failed on other treatments will be launched in the UK today.

"Raltegravir" works on the patients by blocking an enzyme essential for HIV to replicate itself. It is effective in bringing down the levels of HIV genetic material (RNA) in the blood.

According to studies, 75 per cent of patients receiving the drug Raltegravir will reduce the HIV viral load in their blood, compared with 40 per cent taking a dummy drug.

Dr Mark Nelson, director of HIV services at London's Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, said it could provide a lifeline for patients failing on existing treatments.

''For these people, the emergence of new classes of drugs such as integrase inhibitors will offer new hope,'' he added.

During the trials, patients were taking raltegravir or the dummy drug plus Optimised Background Therapy (OBT).

OBT is a regime of antiretroviral drugs tailored to individual patients.

They had been taking regular antiretroviral HIV drugs for about 10 years but failed to respond to them.

Researchers measured the amount of viral load - or HIV RNA - in their blood after 24 weeks of treatment with their usual HIV drugs plus either raltegravir or a dummy drug, the Independent reported.

Scientists hope this drug will solve the problem of treatment-resistant HIV strains.

UNI XC NC MSJ RK1230

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