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Published on 28 January 2008

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New drug hope for HIV sufferers

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A new HIV drug is being launched in the UK which it is hoped could improve treatment for sufferers.

Raltegravir is the first in a new class of HIV medications called integrase inhibitors, which can stop the disease from replicating.

It will be given to patients who have failed to respond to other treatments.

Clinical trials have shown that 75% of patients taking the drug have a reduction in HIV in their blood, compared with 40% taking a placebo.

The groups were taking raltegravir or the dummy pill in combination with other therapies.

Scientists measured its effectiveness on reducing levels of HIV genetic material (RNA) in the blood.

They now hope this new family of drugs will get round the problem of treatment-resistant HIV strains.

Dr Mark Nelson, director of HIV services at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, said: “HIV is a clever virus which adapts and mutates quickly, producing drug resistant strains of the virus.

“The more ways we have to attack the virus, the more chance we have of successfully managing the disease.

“But we’ve got to be smart about how we use these new drugs – we don’t want to repeat past mistakes where resistance arose from using single therapies.”

Copyright © PA Business 2008

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

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