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Scientists develop drug to protect against AIDS

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In the new study, the researchers gave two injections of the drug to eight macaques and then “challenged” the animals by putting SHIV into their rectums once a week. They found none of the animals became infected after eight challenges.

A single injection of an experimental drug may someday protect people from infection with the AIDS virus for up to three months, a US study said.

The study, published in the US journal Science, showed that the drug called GSK 744LA can protect macaque monkeys from repeated intrarectal infections with the deadly SHIV, a hybrid between the human and monkey AIDS virus.

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The efficacy and safety of the drug have not been tested in humans, but David Ho, whose team at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Centre in New York led the study, the drug may be maintained at adequate level for about three of four months in humans.

In the new study, the researchers gave two injections of the drug to eight macaques and then “challenged” the animals by putting SHIV into their rectums once a week. They found none of the animals became infected after eight challenges.

In a second experiment, SHIV readily infected eight untreated control monkeys.

This novel approach was based on the proven strategy of protecting people who do not have HIV but are at high risk for infection with antiretroviral pills known as oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

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