A new drug called raltegravir shows promise in combating drug-resistant HIV, concludes an international study in The Lancet medical journal. HIV is the virus that causes Aids.
Raltegravir belongs to a new class of drugs called integrase-inhibitors, which block an enzyme essential for HIV to replicate itself, BBC News reported.
The study included 178 patients with advanced HIV who failed to respond to the antiretroviral drugs they'd been taking for about 10 years. The patients were assigned to take their usual drugs plus either raltegravir or a non-medicinal placebo.
After 24 weeks, patients taking raltegravir showed a 98 percent drop in the amount of HIV genetic material in their blood, compared to a 45 percent drop among the placebo group. Those taking raltegravir also showed a significant boost in the number of CD4 cells, an indication of immune response, BBC News reported.
"This drug has the potential to become an important component of combination treatment regimens...for patients failing current therapies with multidrug-resistant virus and limited treatment options," wrote the study's authors at Merck Research Laboratories in Pennsylvania. – (HealthDayNews)