International News

Gallo Urges Caution in Antiretroviral Drug Programs in Developing Nations

July 15, 2003

Robert Gallo, codiscoverer of HIV and director of the Institute of Human Virology, yesterday at the International AIDS Society's 2nd Conference on Pathogenesis and Treatment warned that proper medical infrastructure must be developed before embarking on widespread antiretroviral treatment programs in developing nations, Reuters reports. "Obviously it is critical to get available drugs to developing nations as quickly as possible, but not just to throw this at them," Gallo said in an interview with Reuters, adding, "We've got to have infrastructure created at the same time because we are going to create multi-drug resistant mutants if we don't." The issue of antiretroviral drug programs has dominated discussions at the conference in light of President Bush's recent commitment of $15 billion over five years to the AIDS epidemic. Gallo, who is considered "something of a dissenting voice in the chorus of support for widespread treatment," predicted that drug-resistant HIV strains could develop within two to five years of instituting such programs if they are not done correctly, according to Reuters (Hirschler, Reuters, 7/14).

A webcast of the "Extraordinary Plenary Session: 20 Years of HIV Science," which Gallo chaired, is available online.

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