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HIV Cure Becomes More Elusive as Disease Rejects Key Drug

First Posted: Jan 30, 2016 11:38 AM EST
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HIV cure sees bleak future as one key drug fails to fight the development of the disease. According to BBC, in a comparative research that analyzes the effect of the Tenofovir drug between HIV patients in Africa and Europe, the drug consistently lost its effect on African patients by 60 percent and to European patients by 20 percent.

The research's lead author Dr. Ravi Gupta faults the Tenofovir's effect to the patient's inability to take the drug on a regular basis with the right amount of dosage. In his statement, he said, "If the right levels of the drug are not taken, as in they are too low or not regularly maintained, the virus can overcome the drug and become resistant."

Published on The Lancet, Dr. Gupta's recent findings on the effect of Tenofovir on HIV patients drew some serious concerns. Tenofovir, in past studies, is believed to be the one drug that has the lowest rate of being prone to drug resistance.

BBC reported that, the research started in 2012 and sought the involvement of at least 2,000 HIV patients all over the world. The prevalence of HIV patients resisting the supposed effect of Tenofovir showed mostly on patients from numerous African countries.

To properly address the issue, Dr. Gupta suggested global awareness and more financial support on the research.

He said, "Tenofovir is a critical part of our armamentarium against HIV, so it is extremely concerning to see such a high level of resistance to this drug."

In a report by Reuters, Dr. Gupta revealed the two ways a patient can become resistant from Tenofovir: when a person fails to take the right amount of Tenofovir specified by a doctor or when infected by someone who is already resistant to the virus.

Tenofovir is largely used to control or prevent the development of HIV as well as hepatitis B. In a statement given by Dr. Gupta, he said, "The availability of second-line drugs is increasing, but they're quite a bit more expensive and have more side effects associated with them."

Dr. Robert Shafer of Standford University in California also believes that if a patient develops resistance to the drug, it is considered as a "very large loss." The patient's immune system during the primary stage of taking the Tenofovir also tells something about the issue on the drug-resistant HIV.


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