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PhRMA: 88 HIV/AIDS Meds in Development at U.S. Companies

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A report by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) says U.S. biopharmaceutical companies are testing 88 medicines and vaccines to treat or prevent HIV/AIDS and related conditions. The report, issued on World AIDS Day (1 December 2011), also lists 36 currently approved medications for HIV infection and AIDS.

According to PhRMA’s report, more than half (49 of 88 or 56%) of the medications in development are antivirals, with another 27 drugs classified as vaccines. The remaining 12 medicines are cell or gene therapies, immunomodulators, and others treating related disorders (e.g. AIDS-associated neuropathy). All of the 88 drugs listed are either in clinical trials or awaiting FDA review.

In a statement, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) says the global rate of new infections has stabilized at 2.7 million new infections a year for the past five years. IAVI attributes this stabilization to HIV control strategies including condoms, male circumcision, prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission, harm reduction for people who use drugs, and a decrease in transmission from people living with HIV who are on treatment.

The group notes that antiretroviral treatments have been available since 1996, and are now more tolerable and a lot easier to take, although less than half of the people who need these treatments have access to them. “Fortunately,” says IAVI, “there have been extraordinary advances in HIV science, including significant progress toward the development of preventive vaccines and microbicides, the use of antiretroviral treatments as prophylaxis, and even a functional cure.”

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