The findings were considered so significant that the study was ordered to be stopped on Friday and the 59 US and French medical centres that participated were told to offer Wellcome's AZT to the pregnant women who had been receiving a placebo.
Wellcome, which manufactures AZT as Retrovir, said enrolment of patients in the study had been stopped after an interim review of data revealed a transmission rate of 8.3 per cent when both mothers and their babies received AZT.
That compared with a rate of 25.5 per cent among those given a placebo.
The study was sponsored by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale of France.
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