PhRMA: 100 HIV/AIDS drugs, vaccines are in development

WASHINGTON — One hundred new drugs and vaccines are in development to treat HIV/AIDS and related conditions, according to a new report by a pharmaceutical industry trade group.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said the drugs include novel ones designed to stay ahead of the disease. For example, drugs under development include one that attacks infected cells while leaving healthy cells alone, while a new class of drugs is designed to prevent the virus from breaking through cell membranes. On the vaccine front, one uses a weakened version of the virus that causes the common cold to boost the immune system, while another is administered via a skin patch.

“We have progressed in just a few decades from having no medicines available for HIV/AIDS patients to having highly effective treatments — even against multidrug-resistant forms of the virus,” PhRMA president and CEO John Castellani said. “We have moved from complicated drug cocktails that needed to be taken around the clock to simple, once-a-day treatments. However, we have not defeated HIV/AIDS, and we cannot afford to become complacent.”

More than 1 million Americans are living with HIV infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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