There are currently 17 different antiretroviral drugs available for the treatment of HIV, but the efficacy of a specific drug for a particular individual is very difficult to predict. In November 24 Lancet Michael Polis and colleagues from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, US, show that changes in HIV-1 concentration at day 6 after the start of antiretroviral treatment is a good early measure of individual long-term responses.

Polis et al. analysed the kinetics of virus decay in plasma during the first 12 weeks of treatment of 124 HIV-1-infected patients being treated for the first time with a protease inhibitor. They found that individual virus decay rate constants at day 6 correlated well with changes in HIV-1 concentrations at 4, 8 and 12 weeks, and predicted 84% of the responses to treatment (Lancet 2001, 358:1760-1765).

"We now have a quick, simple and...

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