Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Long-term study backs early HIV drugs for children
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Aug 21, 2013

A landmark five-year trial has strengthened evidence that early use of antiretroviral drugs helps children combat the AIDS virus, doctors reported on Thursday.

Conducted in South Africa, the so-called CHER trial made history in 2007, after only two years, when it discovered that early treatment slashed the risk of disease and death from AIDS by 75 percent.

The astonishing finding prompted the World Health Organisation (WHO) to overhaul its treatment guidelines in 2010 for youngsters with the AIDS virus.

The WHO recommended that antiretroviral therapy be started immediately when HIV is diagnosed in children less than a year old, rather than wait until a threshold of virus infection is reached.

Now completed, the CHER trial takes early-use-is-good a step further, according to results reported in The Lancet.

Children who began an immediate course of drugs were able to interrupt their treatment, giving them a break from the powerful, potentially toxic drugs, researchers found.

Yet even with this interruption, the infants did far better than those who started treatment later.

On average, the children who received the deferred treatment began the drugs about 20 weeks after diagnosis.

Those who began an immediate course of 40 weeks of drugs were able to take a 33-week break before starting treatment afresh. And those who took an immediate 96-week course enjoyed a break of 70 weeks.

The trial was conducted at two sites in South Africa among 377 infants with HIV who were less than 12 weeks old.

The research marks the latest advance in knowledge about antiretroviral drugs, which revolutionised the fight against AIDS from 1996.

The drugs are a lifeline to millions, for they can roll back the virus to below detectable levels.

But if the drugs are stopped, the virus rebounds from boltholes, called reservoirs, in cells in the body.

Two other trials -- both small in scale and at a very early stage -- have recently raised hopes that hitting HIV with drugs very soon after infection can wipe out this hiding place.

An estimated 34 million people are infected with HIV worldwide, and about 1.8 million die each year.

Infants are especially vulnerable. If untreated, around half of infected newborns die before their second birthday.

The new work revives hopes that flourished in the late 1990s, before the reservoir problem was identified, that patients could get a temporary holiday from AIDS drugs.

"This important finding indicates we may be able to temporarily stop treatment and spare infants from some of the toxic effects of continuous ART [antiretroviral therapy] for a while, if we can monitor them carefully," said Mark Cotton, a professor at Stellenbosch University near Cape Town, who helped lead the study.

Caution, though, was sounded in a commentary by Robert Colebunders of the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, and Victor Musiime of Makerere University College of Health Sciences in Kampala, Uganda.

Treatment interruption is a risky option in poor countries which lack laboratory facilities to monitor levels of CD4 immune cells, they said.


Related Links
Epidemics on Earth - Bird Flu, HIV/AIDS, Ebola

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Cambodian boy dies from bird flu: WHO
Phnom Penh (AFP) Aug 19, 2013
A nine-year-old boy has died from bird flu in Cambodia, the 10th victim this year, the World Health Organisation said Monday, warning that the kingdom's deadliest outbreak of the virus could continue. The boy, from the northwestern province of Battambang, died in a children's hospital in the nearby tourist hub of Siem Reap on Sunday night after falling ill last month, the WHO in Cambodia sai ... read more

Raytheon provides public safety a bridge from land mobile radios to smartphones and tablets

Mutualink Unveils Google Glass for Public Safety

Russia convicts officials of 2012 floods negligence

Disaster-weary Philippines mops up after deadly floods

Earliest known iron artifacts come from outer space

ORNL finding goes beyond surface of oxide films

Boeing Thin Disk Laser Exceeds Performance Requirements During Testing

Poisoning corrosion brings stainless magnesium closer

Epic ocean voyages of coral larvae revealed

EU slaps ban on Faroe Islands herring, mackerel imports

EU slaps trade sanctions against Faroes in herring spat

Newly discovered ocean plume could be major source of iron

Arctic shipping holds great promise for Asia

Greenpeace says Russia denies it Arctic access

Melting water's lubricating effect on glaciers has only 'minor' role in future sea-level rise

Earth orbit changes were key to Antarctic warming that ended last ice age

Scientists uncover the secret life of frozen soils

Fonterra 'let country down', NZ minister says on China visit

How will crops fare under climate change?

New contamination scare hits N. Zealand dairy industry

Russia scrambles to contain record floods

Taiwan braces for Tropical Storm Trami

Tropical Storm Trami lashes Taiwan

8 dead as heavy rains pummel flooded Philippines

South Sudan arrests general for rights violations

Mali court confirms Keita's landslide election win

China's Xi vows stepped up health cooperation with Africa: Xinhua

Keita wins by landslide in Mali presidential vote

Researchers say human foot not unique, more like those of great apes

Archaeologists find evidence of separate Neanderthal cultures in Europe

Spread of prehistoric peoples in California tied to environment

Research effort dates oldest known petroglyphs in North America

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement