Dr. Patrick Ndase, a Ugandan scientist who played a crucial part in studies leading up to this approval has welcomed the news as a milestone in the work of scientists in developing countries and the rest of the world.
The approval of Antiretroviral drug Truvada for use in reducing the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS is being regarded as a milestone in HIV/AIDS prevention research.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the USA approved the drug on Monday, to be used among high-risk groups, to reduce the risk of getting infected with HIV. Truvada, a drug already being used worldwide as an Antiretroviral, was shown in clinical studies to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus by up to 75%.
Dr. Patrick Ndase, a Ugandan scientist who played a crucial part in studies leading up to this approval, has welcomed the news as a milestone in the work of scientists in developing countries and the rest of the world.
//Cue in: “On a global level, we are very thrilled…
Cue out: …change lives of so many.”//
For Truvada to be declared safe for use as a measure of prevention, studies were carried out both in the USA and in Africa; specifically in Uganda, Kenya and South Africa. These studies were in gay men as well as among discordant couples.
Dr. Ndase was the Coordinator for Partners Prep Study in Uganda, a research done among discordant couples. This was done in five sites across the country; in the districts of Kampala, Tororo, Jinja, Mbale and Bushenyi. The results for the Ugandan study, carried out among over 2500 couples, were published in July 2011.
The drug was given to the negative partner in a discordant relationship, to reduce their risk of contracting HIV from their positive partner.
Dr. Ndase says that the recently announced approval is an indication that though a magic bullet for HIV prevention has not been found yet, this is an addition to the toolkit people can use to stay safe from HIV. He is however disappointed at the pace at which Uganda is moving towards developing a framework for such interventions to be implemented nationally, especially at a time when the HIV prevalence has risen from 6.7 to 7.3 percent.
//Cue in: “On the Ugandan front…
Cue out:…soon in this country.”//
Truvada, manufactured by pharmaceutical firm Gilead Sciences, was first approved as an ARV in 2004. With the news of the approval by the FDA for its use as a preventive drug however, came some opinions that this will increase infections as people may take it as a cure. Some organizations such as the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Los Angeles, US, have been quoted by international media expressing concern about the approval.
treatment for hiv/aids
hiv/aids prevention research
food and drug administration (fda)
antiretroviral drug truvada
partners prep study
prevalence rate at 7.3 percent