Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Aids : Effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy demonstrated in Africa

28.06.2002


Tritherapies using antiretroviral drugs have proved their worth in industrialized countries in the fight against Aids. However, in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 70 % of people infected with HIV live, access to such treatments is extremely limited. High cost, complicated procedures, combined with inadequate infrastructures for following up patients or capable of delivering medicines regularly partly explain this situation. Moreover, efficacy of antiretroviral agents might not be the same for some HIV strains present in Africa. And not enough is yet known about the response to therapy (viral resistance, adverse effects and so on), notably in patients in advanced stages of immune deficiency. These factors are considered as obstacles to mounting concerted therapy programmes in Africa. For some government authorities they provide the arguments for concentrating control campaigns solely on prevention with no involvement of antiretroviral drugs.



Since 1998 the Senegalese government has been developing a programme facilitating access to Aids treatments (1). Within this, an assessment programme, coordinated by the IRD and the Senegal National Committee for Aids Control, and financed by the Agence nationale de recherches sur le sida (ANRS), has been deployed aiming to determine the effectiveness, the tolerance, the acceptability and feasibility of the standard form of antiretroviral therapy. This study was conducted in a cohort of 58 patients aged between 16 and 56 years, having high viral load and low CD4 cell count. Most of them (86.2%) had developed the disease before the start of the antiretroviral therapy. All received a combination treatment of two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors plus one protease inhibitor (2) The drugs were taken in three doses per day, just as in the industrialized countries. A sociological survey was done in parallel which assessed patients’ ability to contribute to part of the cost of the treatment depending on their financial resources. The rest would be subsidized by the programme.

At the end of the 18 month study, the results were comparable with those obtained in the countries of the North. Most patients (87.9 %) regularly followed the course of treatment over the whole period monitored. Also, contrary to prior assumptions, financial difficulties did not hinder adherence to the therapy. Furthermore, the same therapeutic efficacy was observed here as in the industrialized countries. After a year and a half of treatment the viral load was almost undetectable (below 500 copies/ml) in 59.3 % of cases and the CD4 cell count had risen markedly (about 180/mm3). Tolerance to antiretroviral medicines was generally good, adverse effects observed being only mild. Only two cases of viral resistance to the drugs were found.


This study gives proof that the therapeutic strategies developed in the industrialized countries can also be applied in Africa. The Senegalese initiative shows that this tritherapy method proves to be effective for most patients, even if their immunity deficiency is severe before embarking on antiretroviral treatments - and although many different strains of HIV-1 are circulating. It must be emphasized also that, contrary to results of several other studies conducted in Africa, viral resistance was rare. The researchers consider that the quality of follow-up of patients under the therapy regimens, attained by involving social workers and the regularity of medicine supply, contributed to the effectiveness. Judging by the excellent results obtained during this pilot phase, it now remains to ascertain that antiretroviral therapy maintains its efficacy over the long term and on a larger scale.

(1) Senegal, which launched its HAART in 1998, was among the first African countries, along with the Ivory Coast and Uganda, to set up a nation-wide programme to facilitate access to treatment for Aids.

(2) These antiretroviral drugs are active against two HIV targets : reverse transcriptase and protease. Both are enzymes. The first enables the viral RNA to transform into DNA so it can then become integrated with the DNA of the cell it infects. Protease builds up the constituent elements of the HIV, before it is released from the cell to spread further.


Marie-Lise Sabrie | alfa

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution
09.12.2016 | Veterans Affairs Research Communications

nachricht Oxygen can wake up dormant bacteria for antibiotic attacks
08.12.2016 | Penn State

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>