November 17, 2009
HIV-positive Bay Area residents who have influenza can apply to enroll in a study of a new triple combination antiviral drug (TCAD) against the seasonal infection, researchers told a Nov. 10 San Francisco forum on flu and HIV/AIDS. Persons who call the Flu Hotline, set up by Quest Clinical Studies and Conant Medical Group, and are accepted into the trial will be treated at home and will receive compensation for their time and travel.
"The current antiviral drugs are not as effective as we would like them to be in getting people well and back on their feet as quickly as possible," said Dr. Jay Lalezari of Quest. Those enrolled will be treated with either the standard flu therapy or an experimental one from Adamas Pharmaceuticals. Adamas' drug is a fixed-dose combination of amantadine and ribavirin as adjuncts to a neuraminidase inhibitor such as oseltamivir phosphate (Tamiflu). Each has a different mechanism of action, and together they can synergistically provide a higher level of antiviral activity, study officials said.
"These aren't new drugs; it is really a new way of using drugs we already have," Lalezari said.
"There hasn't been a lot of vaccine available in San Francisco," said Lalezari. "Most of the HIV-positive patients have not been able to vaccinate" against seasonal flu, and neither have staff working on the study, he said.
"If you have not had the Pneumovax in the last five years you should get it," area Dr. Marcus Conant advised the approximately 40 attendees. "It will reduce your risk of pneumonia. HIV-positive patients should usually get it every five years."
The study's Flu Hotline is 1-888-5-HIV-FLU (1-888-544-8358).