WASHINGTON – A newly approved approach to combating the AIDS virus is not in itself a silver bullet, says one of the scientists who helped discover the rampant virus.
The FDA recently approved Truvada, a new pill that combines existing drugs to produce an effective preventative measure for those at high risk of contracting the disease, such as AIDS workers and the sexual partners and children of those who are infected.
Dr. Robert Gallo, director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, tells WTOP this milestone in controlling the disease that has claimed the lives of more than 30 million is only one step.
“I think it’s going to help some individual cases, particularly in the nations that can afford it,” he says, “but it will be a very particular intervention.
“I don’t think it’s going to end the epidemic.”
It is unlikely this drug will make it to people all over the world who might get infected, Gallo says. Instead, it’s important for aid workers and scientists to continue applying methods that can lower the infectiousness of individual people with HIV/AIDS, he says. Making them less likely to transmit the disease to others is key to controlling its proliferation.
Gallo says the U.S. should be proud of organizations like the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief — founded under President George W. Bush and expanded by President Barack Obama — for focusing on Africa and the Caribbean, where the spread of the disease is particularly dangerous.