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Pregnancy Complications

HIV/AIDS in Pregnancy

Drug Regimen Can Prevent
Mother-to-Infant HIV Transmission

Interim results from an ongoing study say an affordable and safe regimen of the antiretroviral drug nevirapine (NVP) appears to be extremely effective in preventing mother-to-infant HIV transmission. Researchers in Uganda and the United States randomized 617 HIV-infected mothers-to-be to receive a single dose of nevirapine during labor and another to her baby within three days of birth or to similar treatment with the drug AZT to collect data. It was found that 13.1 percent of infants who received nevirapine were infected with HIV by age 16 weeks, compared to 25.1 percent of those treated with AZT. Officials associated with the study, which was sponsored by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), say full implementation of the nevirapine intervention in developing countries could prevent 300,000 to 400,000 cases of infant HIV infection annually. Authors note that the nevirapine regimen is approximately 200-times cheaper than the long-course of AZT commonly used in the U.S. to prevent mother-to-infant HIV transmission, and about 70-times cheaper than short-courses of AZT used for similar purposes. (Note: nevirapine (NVP) is manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals.) Data taken from an NIAID release (July 19, 1999).

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