Washington, Aug 29 – The results of a study started in 2005 published in the latest edition of the journal Lancet call for earlier use of antiretroviral therapy in children with HIV.
It also considers that temporarily interrupting treatment after an early start is effective, safe, and not conducive to rapid progression of the disease. However, this aspect should be confirmed by further research.
“This important finding indicates we may be able to temporarily stop treatment and spare infants from some of the toxic effects of continuous ART [antiretroviral therapy] for a while, if we can monitor them carefully,” said Mark Cotton, a professor at Stellenbosch University near Cape Town, who helped lead the study.
However, specialists consider necessary to develop new work in this area, as they have not been able to compare the effects of the interruption of the therapy whith those of a continous treatment.
Caution, though, was sounded in a commentary by Robert Colebunders of the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, and Victor Musiime of Makerere University College of Health Sciences in Kampala, Uganda.
Treatment interruption is a risky option in poor countries which lack laboratory facilities to monitor levels of CD4 immune cells, they said.
All children began to be medicated at an average age of seven weeks, but researchers believe that better results could be achieved if treated earlier.
In 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended to start antiretroviral therapy in all children less tha two years old infected with HIV, regardless of their immune status.
Source: Prensa Latina