PhRMA: More than 70 drugs, vaccines under development for HIV/AIDS

PhRMA-sponsored report highlights improvements in patients' lives

WASHINGTON — Drug companies have made "remarkable progress" in treatment options for patients with HIV and AIDS, according to two new reports from a drug industry trade group.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America released a report Thursday showing 73 drugs and vaccines under development for the 1.2 million people in the United States living with HIV. A second report, a white paper sponsored by PhRMA and published by Boston Healthcare Associates, tracks advancements in treatment that have made HIV a manageable, chronic condition. Titled Recognizing the Value of Innovation in HIV/AIDS Therapy, the report shows that while the number of people living with HIV increased by 28% between 1996 and 2000, due primarily to rising survival rates, hospitalization rates fell by 32% during the same period.

"Incredible strides have been made in the battle against HIV/AIDS, but the disease still poses a global threat, and the collaborative path to further solutions for patients will be complex," PhRMA president and CEO John Castellani said. "The nearly 75 medicines in development offer great hope for better treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS in the years ahead."

Some of the new treatments under development include an antisense gene therapy that uses genetic material derived from the HIV-1 strain of the virus to remove its disease-causing aspects; a transdermal vaccine that helps suppress virus replication and destroys infected cells; and a first-in-class medicine intended to prevent the virus from attaching to new cells and breaking thorugh the cell membrane.

"Together, these new reports highlight how far we have come in the fight against HIV/AIDS over the last few decades," Castellani said. "Through a series of complex steps and incremental gains in knowledge, therapeutic options for patients with HIV/AIDS are transforming the treatment paradigm and prolonging lives."

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