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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers this week at the 12th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Denver reported that injections of two drugs used to treat HIV patients completely protected monkeys from becoming infected.
The rhesus monkeys were injected with a version of Truvada, Gilead Science's once-daily pill that includes its drugs Viread and Emtriva. The monkeys were then exposed rectally to combined monkey-human HIV. The exposures and the injections continued daily for 14 days. "Treatment continued for four weeks after last challenge," says Walid Heneine of CDC.
The six monkeys that received the drug injections were all completely protected from infection. Nine monkeys used in a previous experiment eventually all became infected.
In a statement, the CDC says, "Study authors believe the findings may be the strongest animal data yet suggesting that potent antiretrovirals given before HIV exposure may prevent sexual HIV transmission." However, they caution that the drug dose differed slightly from that found in people taking Truvada. Studies that could determine whether the findings will translate to humans are ongoing. (Reuters)