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This Week In HIV Research

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This Week in HIV Research: Reducing the Cost of Hepatitis C Cures, and Atazanavir During Pregnancy Linked to Developmental Delays

March 25, 2016

This week, a new study estimates that simple mathematical modeling could cut the cost of hepatitis C cures by up to half. Another study examines the link between mothers taking atazanavir (Reyataz) during pregnancy and developmental delays in their infants. To beat HIV, you have to follow the science!


Hepatitis C

More Cost-Effective Cure for Hepatitis C May Be Close

The cost of a hepatitis C (HCV) cure could be cut up to 50% by using mathematical models to predict when a person can stop treatment, according to a new study by Loyola University Health System and Loyola University Chicago.

Although several direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) can cure HCV over the course of weeks, the high price tag that comes with these regimens has become an increasing barrier to accessing these cures.

"Treatment currently is standardized to be given for a set period of time, not tailored to the patient," said Scott Cotler, M.D., FCO division director of hepatology at Loyola, according to the study press release. "In many cases, this may result in the prolonged use of expensive drugs with essentially no additional positive effect."

Based on this knowledge, the researchers suggest conducting frequent blood tests to determine HCV levels in patients on treatment, which would allow providers to analyze when HCV cure is achieved and predict when to stop treatment. The result could lead to shorter durations on HCV regimens and lower costs.

Read: This Week in HIV Research: Racial Disparity in Retention in Care Develops Over Time, and Preventing Half of New Infections by 2025


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Comorbidities

Atazanavir During Pregnancy May Cause Developmental Delays in Infants

The language and social-emotional development of 1-year-olds whose mothers took atazanavir during pregnancy may be slightly delayed compared to that of infants whose mothers were treated with other antiretrovirals to prevent mother-to-child transmission, according to a recent study published in AIDS.

An analysis of data on 917 infants who are not HIV-infected found slightly lower language development scores on a standard infant development test among the 167 infants whose mothers' HIV treatment included atazanavir at any time during pregnancy. The children's social-emotional development score was only affected if their mothers took the drug during the second or third trimester of pregnancy.

While these findings corroborate other research that raised concerns about delays in language development among infants exposed to atazanavir in utero, researchers emphasized that the differences between groups were quite small.

Warren Tong is the senior science editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com. Follow Warren on Twitter: @WarrenAtTheBody.

Barbara Jungwirth is a freelance writer and translator based in New York. Follow Barbara on Twitter: @reliabletran.


Copyright © 2016 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.


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