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Anti-AIDS combo pill under development in Brazil
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Brazil is developing a combo pill, which combines three drugs, to treat patients infected with the HIV virus, said the Ministry of Health on Wednesday.

According to Orival Silveira, who coordinates the treatment and assistance unit of the ministry's National Sexually Transmitted Diseases/AIDS Program, the pill is currently undergoing its final testing stage.

He said the ingestion of a sole pill will be a big progress as it makes it easier for the patient to follow the treatment.

Studies have shown that treatments with over two pills per day are more difficult for patients to follow, he said.

Over the past years, the number of pills taken by HIV-infected people has diminished significantly. In 1996, they would have to take up to 30 pills several times a day. Now they would take only 17 as the cocktail treatment requires, eight of which are manufactured in Brazil.

The three drugs, namely, AZT, 3CT and nevirapine, to be merged into the combo pill, are also made in the country. The medicine is being developed by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation.

The ministry said that some 180,000 Brazilians are undergoing AIDS treatments, which are entirely sponsored by the government.

(Xinhua News Agency December 20, 2007)

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