About 92 Medicines, Vaccines Now In Development For HIV/AIDS
America's pharmaceutical research companies are testing 92 medicines and vaccines to treat or prevent HIV/AIDS and related conditions, according to a report released today by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). December 1 marks the 20th anniversary of "World AIDS Day" -- a global awareness campaign that originated at the 1988 World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS Prevention.
"We are greatly encouraged by the new, critically-important medicines and vaccines in development to treat and prevent HIV infection," says PhRMA President and CEO Billy Tauzin. "Pharmaceutical researchers are continuing their efforts to develop new therapies and vaccines to improve and lengthen the lives of HIV-infected patients."
The report found that of the 92 products in development, researchers are studying 20 vaccines and 46 antivirals. These drugs are either in human clinical trials or await approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The report also lists 30 medicines to treat HIV/AIDS that have been approved since the virus that causes AIDS was first identified more than 20 years ago. The first such medicine was developed in 1987, just four years after the HIV virus was identified. The increased availability and utilization of newer prescription medicines has helped to reduce the U.S. death rate from AIDS substantially in recent years, according to government statistics.
Despite that progress, AIDS remains a devastating and growing worldwide health problem in developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, China, India and the Russian Federation. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, an estimated 32.7 million people worldwide lived with HIV at the end of 2006.
This year, that figure grew to an estimated 33.2 million people living with HIV, with an estimated 2.1 million people newly infected in 2007.
From 2000 to 2006, America's pharmaceutical research companies contributed more than $6.7 billion to improve health care in the developing world, according to the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations. The projects they underwrote included building clinics to treat patients with HIV/AIDS, education and prevention programs, initiatives to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and donations of medicines for AIDS and related diseases. Companies also provide AIDS drugs at significantly reduced prices in many countries.
"With HIV/AIDS medicines, a disease that was once a virtual death sentence can now be controlled and treated as if it were a chronic disease," adds Tauzin. "And the new medicines our scientists are working on right now bring hope for even more promising results in the future."