Nevirapine, Zidovudine Regimen ‘Best Way’ To Prevent Vertical Transmission of HIV, Studies Say
Administering a combination of nevirapine and zidovudine is the "best way" to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission in developing countries, according to two studies to be published in the July 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the New York Times reports. The two studies followed the same group of 1,800 pregnant women in Thailand from January 2001 to March 2003. The first study assessed the risk of mother-to-child HIV transmission in women who were taking different drug combinations, and the second study followed HIV-positive pregnant women who had weak immune systems. Researchers found that about 2% of births to HIV-positive women resulted in HIV transmission to their infants when the two drugs were given in combination to the women, according to the Times. Dr. Lynne Mofenson, chief of the pediatric AIDS branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said that the success rate for the drug combination is close to the rate seen with the "current, more complex and expensive treatments used in the U.S." The World Health Organization, which was made aware of the "promising results" before they were released, already recommends the drug combination for pregnant women, the Times reports. The only "worrisome result" from the studies was that "even a small dose of nevirapine seemed to raise the chance that a mother would develop a nevirapine-resistant strain" of HIV, according to the Times (McNeil, New York Times, 7/10).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.