Study shows Indian AIDS drug is a winner

What’s more, it even reveals that people in rich and poor countries are from the same species

A drug cocktail made and marketed by Indian pharmaceutical companies (Ranbaxy and Cipla) has proven to be more effective than one marketed by a Western company.

A three-year study of AIDS drugs has identified what the research leaders believe is the ideal triple-therapy cocktail for new patients.

The successful cocktail, known colloquially as “two nukes plus a non-nuke,” is the same one that the World Health Organization has been recommending in poor countries since 2002. It is also the same combination that Indian suppliers of generic drugs have been putting in three-in-one pills since 2001.

Another drug cocktail examined in the study — a “three-nuke combination” — did so poorly that patients were taken off it. The failed cocktail is the only one made as a three-in-one pill by any Western pharmaceutical company.[NYT]

That should be good news for India, given that AIDS has been identified as one of the most dangerous diseases confronting India and on the verge of being declared an epidemic. But availability of cheap drugs from local manufacturers is only the first step, albeit a major one; the ability of the state healthcare system to put these drugs to effective use is both critical and doubtful.

The study “reinforces the point” that the type of cocktail recommended for poor countries by the World Health Organization is right for rich countries as well, said the study’s lead author, Dr. Roy M. Gulick, director of the H.I.V. clinical trials unit at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.[NYT]

Who would have thought that people in rich countries are exactly the same species as those in poor countries? Dr Gulick’s research has indeed come as a major revelation !