May 1, 2003
At the peak of the outbreak in January and February, patients with the then-mystery illness were placed on the same floor of People's Hospital No. 8 as AIDS patients. Guangzhou authorities placed SARS patients on one side of the elevator bank and AIDS patients on the other side. Health care workers traveled throughout the two sides of the floor, and some of the doctors and nurses contracted SARS.
However, none of the several dozen AIDS patients there -- or their visitors, some of whom were HIV-positive -- developed the disease. "I am wondering why there was no SARS virus coinfection in the AIDS cases," said Dr. Zhang Fujie, director of AIDS treatment and care for China. Dr. Cheng Feng of the China/UK HIV/AIDS Project proposed that perhaps drugs given to AIDS patients to control HIV could be blocking SARS infection. Drs. Yuen Kowk-yung and David Ho, of the University of Hong Kong and the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, respectively, are exploring the AIDS apothecary for an effective SARS treatment.
Even more puzzling is that the most effective HIV drugs, protease inhibitors, are not available in Guangzhou. Few Chinese have access to any but the cheapest, least effective HIV drugs, according to an HIV outpatient and activist who asked only to be identified as Thomas.
Newsday (New York City)
04.30.03; Laurie Garrett
The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our content and advertising policies.