New hope in fight against HIV

Washington: Scientists writing in an eminent American medical journal have expressed hope of dramatic changes in the fight against HIV and TB.

According to authors of a special new issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, breakthroughs on the horizon include novel TB drugs in the pipeline that offer the hope of a safer, faster cure for both standard TB and drug-resistant TB; TB diagnostic tests that shrink the time it takes to diagnose drug-resistant TB from six weeks to 90 minutes; and bold HIV prevention approaches that include using antiretroviral agents as prophylactics to prevent against HIV infection, a method known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

At a Washington briefing, the journal articles` authors and scientific leaders said policymakers now need to find ways to capitalize on these promising advances, and not retreat from an effort that already has saved countless lives.

The briefing featured Anthony S Fauci, director of NIH`s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and other leading physician-scientists from across the United States.

"Bold new policy, research, and programmatic approaches are needed to empower the scientific community to take on these twin diseases," Wafaa El-Sadr, director of the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs and professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University`s Mailman School of Public Health, said.

"These global health challenges are surmountable. With the right combination of financial resources, scientific innovation, and political will, the United States can lead the effort to save millions of lives from HIV and TB," El-Sadr added.