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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Is Resistance Futile?

Resistance is futile, or so the battle cry of the new enemy of humans in Star Trek goes. However resistance is hardly futile in the case of the retrovirus HIV. To date, HIV has infected 42 million people worldwide. In 2002 there were five million new infections and three million people died as a result of HIV infection or its end result - acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). The latest figures suggest that one person worldwide is infected with HIV every 60 seconds and 70 per cent of the burden of the world's HIV epidemic is carried by sub-Saharan Africa.

Since HIV-1 was isolated in 1984 and the cause of AIDS discovered, the innovation in drug development has been unrelenting. HIV infects and destroys human CD4 receptor positive cells in human hosts. This destruction leads to a loss of the cellular immune response and thus a switch of the immune system from a TH1 response to a TH2 one. The destruction of CD4+ cells is caused by the assembly of new HIV virus particles and their final budding out of the infected cell.


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By Dr DC Herath, Senior Medical Advisor in HIV at Roche UK

Dr DC Herath completed his Medical Degree at St Mary's Hospital Medical School, London. During that time, Dr Herath also completed a BSc in Haematology, conducting a study into thrombophilic disorders in recurrent miscarriage women. Having graduated, he spent several years as SHO in the major specialities (Renal, Neurology, Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Respiratory and ID/HIV) all at St Mary's, and then worked as SpR in HIV at St Mary's before moving to Roche as Clinical Science Specialist on the TORO 2 study in February 2002. In June of this year, Dr Herath undertook the post of Senior Medical Advisor in HIV for the Roche UK affiliate, overseeing the whole HIV portfolio from a medical viewpoint. He is still a practising physician in HIV, with a patient list of 80 at St Mary's Hospital in London.

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Dr DC Herath
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