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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Popular U.S. Treatment for HIV Is Challenged by European Study

June 9, 1993
Washington Post (06/09/93), P. A4 (Brown, David)

The anti-AIDS drug AZT helps asymptomatic HIV-positive patients for only about a year, and neither slows the development of full-blown AIDS nor extends life, according to details of a European trial on AZT presented yesterday at the Ninth International Conference on AIDS in Berlin. The conclusions came from a French and English study called the "Concorde" that involved more than 1,700 asymptomatic HIV- infected patients. The preliminary results from the study were first indicated in a letter to the British journal Lancet in April. The Concorde trial is the largest and longest study of AZT, and lasted about three years. A lead researcher in the study said that the measurement of CD4 cells as an indicator of clinical benefit in treatment trials--a common practice in the accelerated testing of AIDS drugs in the United States--may be very misleading. Investigator Maxime Seligmann of the Hopital Saint Louis in Paris said the study addresses only the use of AZT in symptom-free patients, and it does not question the drug's effectiveness in patients with AIDS-related symptoms. But the findings are expected to prompt a reassessment of a common practice among American doctors, in which AZT is prescribed after a person's CD4 count falls below 500 cells per microliter of blood, regardless of symptoms. Related Stories: Financial Times (06/09) P. 1; Philadelphia Inquirer (06/09) P. A1.

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