A Thai Red Cross Society (TRCS) research project has produced promising results for those who become infected by the (human immunodeficiency virus) HIV.
The study, part of a “search 0101” project commenced in 2009 involved 96 people and saw 26 people who had been infected with HIV commenced on a course of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) within two weeks of being infected.
Blood tests taken after two weeks of treatment revealed that the white blood cells of 24 people, or 92 per cent of participants, contained no HIV.
Dr Jintanat Ananworanich, lead researcher on the project, described the treatment regime as a “functional cure”. However, she warned that this did not mean the participants were free of the virus in their body, but rather that HIV had been “reduced to such a low level that it is kept under control by the body’s natural defences without the need for ongoing treatment”.
In comparison, Dr Jintanat said only 53 per cent of trial participants who received antiretroviral drugs after being infected with HIV for more than two weeks achieved the same “functional cure”.
Thai Red Cross researchers will continue monitoring the early-diagnosed group of study participants for five years after the antiretroviral drug regime has ceased to see if the virus remains “controlled”.
“If the virus remains controlled and viral load levels do not increase it means those who receive early treatment after being infected with HIV will be able to lead normal lives without the inconvenience or cost of taking antiretroviral drugs”, Dr Jintanat said.
No details of which antiretroviral drugs used in the study were released.
Feature photo: MHRP
He has spent extensive periods of time working in Africa and throughout Southeast Asia, with stints in the Middle East, the USA, and England.
He has covered major world events including Operation Desert Shield/ Storm, the 1991 pillage in Zaire, the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 1999 East Timor independence unrest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and the 2009, 2010, and 2014 Bangkok political protests.
In 1995 he was a Walkley Award finalist, the highest awards in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the 1995 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Ebola outbreak.
Most recently he was the Thailand editor/ managing editor of AEC News Today . Prior to that he was the deputy editor and Thailand and Greater Mekong Sub-region editor for The Establishment Post, predecessor of Asean Today.
In the mid-80s and early 90s he owned JLF Promotions, the largest above and below the line marketing and PR firm servicing the high-technology industry in Australia. It was sold in 1995.
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