A One Two Punch At Aids?

A popular anti-herpes drug may extend the lives of AIDS victims. That's the early finding of a study involving 300 AIDS patients in Britain, Germany, and Australia. The study was designed to see if acyclovir, a herpes drug marketed as Zovirax, could help relieve a painful form of herpes, cytomegalovirus, common in AIDS patients. But researchers noted something else. Most of the patients also were taking AZT, the common anti-AIDS drug. Just 10% of the patients taking a combination of AZT and acyclovir died over a one-year period, vs. 20% of those taking AZT and a placebo. Dr. Paul Griffiths, a London virologist who co-headed the study, cautions that the full results haven't been analyzed. Moreover, the study's findings came as a surprise to some U.S. researchers who so far have not found acyclovir to be useful in treating HIV. Nonetheless, the stock of Wellcome, the British-based company that makes both drugs, jumped 10% on the news.

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