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How about better HIV meds?
Aug 2, 2005

Dear Doctor Pierone, I was wondering what your take is on developing less toxic hiv drug combos.By less toxic, I mean drugs that don't make you feel like your hair is turning green. With all of the technology we have (i,e, high output computers and rnai)at our disposal why have we not been able to develop 3 drugs to use that would feel like taking aspirin.That would be amazing; we could all get on with our lives and not bother you so much.Do you think this will ever happen?(soon)

P.S. A little history I was dx during seroconv. given sustiva/truvada for six months then lexiva/truvada for six months my cd4s went up to 1400 and now Im on a break.I would have liked to remain undetectable but I could not take those things anymore. Those who have been on haart for years deserve an award. Can't someone lobby the drug companies and ask for some feel good medicines. thank you and God bless you ,you are the optimist sir and i look foward to your response.

Response from Dr. Pierone

Hello and thanks for your kind comments.

I don't think we need to lobby the drug companies for better drugs. There will be ample financial rewards for those who develop an effective HIV medication that has fewer side effects. There are several agents in development (CCR-5 inhibitors in particular) that may turn out to be very well tolerated based on the early safety data.

What we do need to lobby for is better funding to support innovative use of existing medications. Try approaching a drug company to fund a study to determine if a lower dose of their medication would be effective in controlling HIV infection guess what the answer will be? Maximizing shareholder and executive financial returns (a.k.a. greed) make this notion a non-starter - only Pollyanna would believe otherwise. Well, since we live in a land of checks and balances what about government sponsored research to do these innovative studies? Some of the most qualified and respected HIV researchers in our country have been rebuffed in their attempts to do such studies. The NIAID is in the process of revamping the HIV clinical research networks and perhaps this might invigorate the anemic and lackluster research agenda.

What about the recent breakthrough studies in therapeutic vaccine for HIV? This work is so important and has global implications, yet garners only a fraction of the research funding that is spent on developing new drugs. AARGH!

Ok, I feel better now. Thanks for posting.



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