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Development of New NRTI Festinavir Continues

February 2011

Promising news about a new NRTI called festinavir (OBP-601) continued through its Phase 1 and 2 studies. The HIV drug is chemically similar to an earlier NRTI called d4T (stavudine), although it doesn't appear to cause the same disruption of mitochondria, or the "power centers" inside cells. This disruption led to a serious condition called mitochondrial toxicity and contributed to significant body shape changes that many experienced earlier in the epidemic.

Early results so far suggest the drug is well tolerated and is effective against strains of HIV resistant to current NRTIs on the market. It may work better in those with resistance to lamivudine (Epivir), emtricitabine (Emtriva) and efavirenz (Sustiva). The drug is dosed once a day. More study is obviously needed in larger numbers of individuals, but hopefully within a couple of years festinavir can be shown to add some unique benefit to current treatments.




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