SABC News, HIV/Aids specialists, govt meet on nevirapine, 12 August 2004

Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, the health minister, will meet HIV/Aids experts in Johannesburg today to discuss reports of resistance to the drug nevirapine, her spokesperson said.

"Scientists and researchers from Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the Medicines Control Council (MCC), the Medical Research Council as well as the essential drugs listing committee will attend," Sibani Mngadi said.

Glenda Gray and James McIntyre of Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital's perinatal HIV research unit and Lynn Morris, the head of the Aids virus research unit at the NICD were expected to be among the experts who would present their views on the drug.

The meeting follows the MCC warning last month of signs of resistance to nevirapine as a monotheraphy. The MCC recommended a combination of antiretrovirals be used instead of a single dose of nevirapine for the prevention of mother to child transmission.

Announcement came during conference
The announcement was made while most HIV/Aids specialists were in Bangkok for the 15th International Aids Conference and were unable to meet immediately to discuss the new development. "All these people attended the Bangkok conference and they can share with the others findings from other parts of the world."

Today's meeting would be followed by an official MINMEC meeting - only the health minister and health MECs - and their recommendations would be presented to Cabinet. Until a final decision was made, the use of nevirapine as a monotheraphy would continue as scheduled, Mngadi said. - Sapa




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