HIV breakthrough could save millions
HIV research has made dramatic gains since the disease was first identified three decades ago, and now a study from the University of New South Wales in Australia may have advanced the field even further. It found that a lower daily dose of efavirenz, a key antiretroviral drug, is both safe and as effective as the standard dosage. This discovery could help save some of the millions of people still affected by the condition and change treatment plans around the world.
For this study, the researchers observed 630 HIV-positive individuals from 13 countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America. Half of these people took two-thirds of the standard dose of efavirenz, while the other half took the standard dose. Those who took the two-thirds dose responded as well as those who took the full dose, indicating that the reduced dose is both safe and effective.
This study was funded by a $12.42 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and could quickly change the way the condition is treated. By cutting the dose by one-third, the cost will be reduced, resulting in more people receiving treatment.