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Anti-AIDS Medicine in Clinical Trial

A new HIV/AIDS medication developed by a Chinese company and aimed at preventing the HIV virus from entering immune cells is undergoing clinical trials.

After four-years of research Dr Zhou Genfa, chairman of the Tianjin-based FusoGen Pharmaceuticals says they have developed a vaccine which functions as an HIV fusion inhibitor.

"Normally, the HIV virus invades the human body by fusing the cell's membrane," said Gao Fu, microbiology research institute chief of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, speaking at yesterday's forum on new HIV/AIDS medication in Beijing.

"So the key is to safeguard the 'gate' and prevent the occurrence of membrane fusion," he said.

The new medication is able to target HIV membrane fusion protein and prevent the virus from attacking cells. AIDS patients and those who are HIV positive will need to be injected everyday, said Zhou said.

Zhou said he had been inspired by T20, the first drug in a new class of fusion inhibitors developed by a company in the United States which was granted marketing approval by the US Food and Drug Administration in March 2003.

But, he continued, his medication, which has been registered as a new medicine with the State Food and Drug Administration, employs a totally different molecular modelling.

And its price will be "significantly" lower than T20 which can cost US$20,000 per patient per year, he said.

The new medication is likely to hit the market at the end of next year.

(China Daily July 11, 2005)

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