A new drug which may one day pre-vent the dreaded Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has been dis-covered. Already approved for the treatment of HIV and rec-ommended on Thursday by the United States' Food and Drug Administration advi-sory committee, the drug, Truvuda, is to be approved for pre-exposure prophy-laxis. It is an experimental strategy which forestalls the contraction of HIV. Manufactured by a US based firm; Gilead Scienc-es, Incorporation, the once-a-day pill used in combina-tion with other HIV drugs does not rid the body of HIV, rather, prevents the vi-rus from replicating in the body.
Though discovered to be effective, the drug's side ef-fects include nausea, vom-iting, dizziness, loss of ap-petite and diarrhoea, liver and kidney toxicity and loss of bone density.
According to the FDA panel, the call for its ap-proval came after consider-ing safety and efficacy data from three clinical trials.
The first clinical trial- a study of men who have sex with fellow men, indicated 43.8% fewer infections in men who used the drug as against those who did not.
In the second trial, a Truvuda study carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Botswana, infection rates were reduced by 63% over-all in healthy men and women considered to be at high risk of infection; while a study of serodis-cordant couples (a couple in which one partner has tested positive to HIV and the other has not) in Kenya saw 62% fewer infections in those taking Truvada and a 73% reduction in those who took a combination of Truvada and the HIV drug tenofovir.
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