Hepatitis drug may be effective treatment for HIV

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com March 08 2003 12:00 AM ET

A long-acting type of interferon used to treat hepatitis C also may be effective in treating early HIV infections, according to a new study by German researchers, United Press International reports. Researchers from Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, report that six months of treatment with Peg-Intron not only significantly reduced HIV viral levels in the blood of 10 study subjects but also revved up their immune systems to better combat the virus in the body. Viral loads in all the study subjects dropped significantly, and T-cell counts climbed by an average of about 30%. All of the study participants had early-stage HIV disease and had not started any other anti-HIV drugs to combat the infection. None of the patients in the study suffered any interferon-related side effects, which can be common when taking the drug at higher doses. Larger studies are now under way at Ruhr University.