Cambodian Sex Workers Refuse to Participate in Clinical Trial of Antiretroviral Drug Without Insurance for Side Effects
March 30, 2004
A group of Cambodian commercial sex workers has refused to participate in a clinical trial of the antiretroviral drug Viread to determine whether it can prevent HIV infection unless the trial's sponsors guarantee them health insurance for 30 years to treat possible side effects caused by the drug, the AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports (AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 3/29). NIH, CDC and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are funding three separate human studies of Viread, which is manufactured by Gilead Sciences and is FDA-approved for use as a treatment for HIV infection. The drug, which is known generically as tenofovir, has been shown to boost immune response and lower viral levels in the bloodstreams of patients who are resistant to other antiretrovirals. The Gates Foundation has awarded a $6.5 million grant to Family Health International to conduct a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial to evaluate whether Viread is effective at reducing the risk of HIV infection. The trial will include 2,000 volunteers in Cambodia, Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria and Malawi.
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