- Vaccine Advance: Monkeys Still Infected, but Protected from Illness
All monkeys given a new vaccine were protected against illness from an AIDS-like virus; they did become infected, but maintained healthy immune responses and did not become sick. Half of the unvaccinated monkeys in the comparison group had died of the infection by day 140. This is the best vaccine result so far, a proof of principle showing what can be done, but the vaccine is not ready for human use.
- FDA Meeting on Approving Immune Therapies: Background and Comment
The FDA brought together experts to discuss what advice the FDA should give to pharmaceutical companies on how they should go about testing immune-based therapies, in order to collect data which could lead to approval to market these drugs; without such clarification, industry has little incentive to research immune-based HIV treatments. Although the meeting went well, we are pessimistic, and explain why we believe that no satisfactory solution is possible within the current terms of discourse. We list several steps that are needed; some of them are already being done, but others are not on the table at this time. We argue that research in this critically important area will be seriously held back unless we can think "out of the box" and take full advantage of unexpected findings and successes.
- South Africa: Historic "Defiance Campaign" Imports Generic Fluconazole
South African treatment advocates have raised national and international issues by purchasing a generic version of fluconazole in Thailand, where it cost 50 times less than the South African retail price, and importing it into South Africa in defiance of patent laws. Many Africans die because they cannot afford the South African price of the patented drug. The South African government has been hostile, but the action has been supported by civil society throughout the country and abroad.
- Congress Considering Medicaid Coverage for Persons with HIV: Call Your Representatives
Congress may pass a bill to allow persons with HIV who meet low-income requirements to qualified for Medicaid -- so that they can be treated to prevent illness, instead of waiting until they are ill enough to qualify for disability before they can get treatment.
- HMOs, Health Insurance: More Problems
Some patients getting HIV care at the Davies campus in San Francisco may have to change doctors November 1, 2000 as part of the ongoing campaign of health insurance organizations to get rid of expensive patients.
ISSN # 1052-4207
Copyright 2000 by John S. James. Permission granted for noncommercial reproduction, provided that our address and phone number are included if more than short quotations are used.