金沙国际唯一指定官网

金沙国际唯一指定官网:Interferon drug 'can alleviate AIDS symptoms'

作者:慕容掭    发布时间:2019-02-26 04:09:19    

By TONY SMITH and CATHY READ AN AMERICAN company is hoping to carry out clinical trials in Britain of a potential anti-AIDS drug which, it claims, has already shown itself to be highly effective in alleviating the symptoms of AIDS in African patients infected with HIV. The drug is based on a cocktail of nine different forms of the antiviral molecule alpha-interferon. Somewhat surprisingly, it is claimed to work only when taken at relatively low dosage – about 100 international units a day – and administered in a lozenge, which is sucked slowly in the mouth. Claims for Kemron are based on the results of a six-month trial in Kenya involving 101 patients. According to doctors from the highly-respected Kenyan Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) in Nairobi who carried out the study, almost all the patients reported the disappearance of the majority of symptoms associated with AIDS within six weeks of starting the treatment. Research scientists in Britain warn that the results obtained so far should be interpreted with caution. Some point out, for example, that attempts to combat the symptoms of AIDS with high doses of interferon have so far been disappointing. Others emphasise that the Kenyan studies were not carried out with proper controls, and that this means that care is needed in interpreting the results. Nevertheless, the claimed results are intriguing enough to have convinced several independent researchers that further studies should be carried out. ‘There may be something in it,’ says Joseph Hassett, an immunologist at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, who is awaiting approval for a six-week controlled trial in 35 patients with AIDS. ‘Even if only some of the improvements that appeared in the Kenya study really work, it would be worth it.’ The Kenyan study was carried out by a group headed by researcher Davy Koech, a graduate of Harvard Medical School. Trials conducted at KEMRI’s clinic in Nairobi, in which 63 males and 38 females between the ages of 15 and 58 were treated with the drug, found that many of them lost most symptoms associated with the disease, such as fatigue, weight loss, diarrhoea and mouth sores. The method of delivering the drug was developed by the Amarillo Cell Culture Company (ACCC) of Amarillo, Texas, which had initially been cooperating with Koech in studies of the use of alpha-interferon in treating cat leukaemia. The interferon was provided by Hayabishara Biochemical Laboratories of Japan. Scientists at ACCC claim there is evidence that sucking a lozenge containing the interferon may allow the molecule to penetrate membranes in the mouth. ‘The results we have had from Kemron have been quite spectacular,’ says Joseph Cummins, president of ACCC. He suggests that the drug may be working, not by acting on the body’s immune system directly, but by stimulating the area around the tonsils into triggering the immune system. ‘Human beings naturally produce a nasal secretion of interferon, but only very rarely. All we are doing is what the body does naturally, in a daily dosage.’ The company acknowledges that the next step in assessing the drug’s potential is to carry out controlled clinical trials. Already the US Army is reported to have started its own trials of the drug in Manila. Roger Wyatt, a researcher at ACCC, says that the Department of Health in Britain has told him that the drug appears to qualify for exemption from some of the normal procedures for testing new drugs because of its potential value in the fight against AIDS. Other research scientists are remaining cautious. Andrew Lever, a lecturer in infectious diseases at St George’s Hospital in London, says that the Kenyan study has a number of flaws. For example, he points out that false positives for HIV tend to be more common in the African population, due to high rates of other diseases, such as malaria. There has also been widespread scepticism in response to the report of Koech’s group that some of the patients in the trial reputedly became seronegative, suggesting that the drug had somehow successfully eliminated the virus from the body. WHO has agreed to support further trials in Kenya, and the results are being keenly awaited by the agency’s scientists. The WHO’s officials believe that, if proved effective, Kemron might benefit poorer countries because of its relative cheapness. For the moment, however, even though the Kenyan government has already promised to mass-produce the drug, scientists are cautious about the results being claimed by Koech and his colleagues for its effectiveness. ‘We do not disbelieve the results, but another scientist of equal competence should test the drug as well,’ said Gottlieb Lobe Monekosso, the regional director of the WHO in Africa. ‘If he gets equal results,

 

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