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 NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures
17.11.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht High speed video recording precisely measures blood cell velocity
15.11.2017 | ITMO University

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: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>