Hope in the fight against TB and Aids

2012-07-28 11:11

News coming from the scientific front has us believing that the season of hope is upon us.

Scientists in the US this week announced that they had used a cancer drug to flush out the HI virus in a patient’s white blood cells.

This, they said, was a tentative step towards a cure for the disease.

“It is the beginning of work towards a cure for Aids,” David Margolis, the co-author of the study published in the journal Nature, told reporters at the International Aids Conference in Washington this week.

This happened just days after the Lancet medical journal published a report indicating that a new combination of drugs to treat TB could offer fresh hope for fighting the disease.

The study found that a three-drug cocktail of an experimental medicine called PA-824 and two medicines already on the market was safe and as effective as current TB treatment, and had the potential to slash the time needed to treat drug-resistant forms of the disease.

These reports, along with the report earlier this month that mother-to-child HIV transmission was now 2.7% down from 8% in 2008, gives us reason to believe we are turning the corner against two scourges that have claimed South Africans at the prime of their lives.

It is estimated that out of a population of 50?million, 5?million South Africans are living with HIV.

In developing countries, TB is particularly ­rampant. The World Health Organisation figures showed that 8.8?million people, mostly in developing counties, were infected with TB.

South Africa is ranked third in the world with a TB burden and is one of the 22 high-burden countries that contribute approximately 80% of the total global burden of all TB cases.

The scientists and the health departments have done their bit, but more still needs to be done, especially with regard to TB, which is a socioeconomic disease.

Still, it is now up to the rest of us to do what is in our power to help reverse the deadly trend.

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