Glaxo to reveal HIV hope

Further evidence of the growing success of scientists fighting Aids is likely to be announced by Glaxo Wellcome, the drugs company, at an international Aids conference in Washington today.

However, the findings are being treated with caution by some researchers, who fear the rise in cocktail treatments - combinations of two or more drugs to treat HIV, the virus that causes Aids - brings pitfalls.

Glaxo Wellcome, in conjunction with its partner Vertex, a US biotechnology company listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange, will announce results for a combination treatment of two protease inhibitor compounds developed by Vertex.

The paper will describe the effect of using 1592U89 and 141W494 on a a small group of Aids patients. Seven were tested, and it is understood that while two withdrew from the trial because of side-effects the other five had virus levels reduced to undetectable.

The news follows hard on an announcement on Friday for a combination of Glaxo's 3TC and Bristol-Myers Squibb's d4T, which could also reduce HIV in some patients' blood to undetectable levels. But if the patient had previously used a combination of Glaxo's 3TC and its AZT, the new treatment caused a drop of only 50 per cent - not enough, it is believed, to make much difference to the patient's health.

So-called cocktail therapies have proved to be highly promising ways of treating patients. But the conference has also noted that their proliferation will make them more difficult to track, with each new combination needing more and more analysis to show which is the most effective at different stages of the disease.

If a doctor prescribes the wrong drugs, or gives them to a patient in the wrong order, he risks leaving the patient defenceless farther down the road.

"Each choice minimises your future," said Harvard researcher Dr Cal Cohen. "If a doctor guesses wrong, then you're done with plan B and plan A, and have fewer choices for plan C."

Robert Frost, director of the American Foundation for Aids Research, warned of "the growing concern that the order in which we use combinations of drugs will affect therapeutic options in the future".

Because of the ability of HIV to mutate, many Aids patients are now resistant to older treatments, such as Glaxo's AZT.

The sombre note will temper the optimism of the Glaxo findings, which analysts are unconvinced signal any significant impact yet on the company's profitability. Glaxo, though, is desperate to find replacements as fast as it can for its billion-dollar ulcer drug Zantac, sales of which have been hit badly by coming off patent in the US.

Suggested Topics
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Recruitment Consultant - Soho - IT, Pharma, Public Sector

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000 first year: SThree: The SThree group i...

Sales Executive

£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week