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AIDS Drug Study to Continue Despite Mistake in Experiment

July 23, 1993|Associated Press

BOSTON — Testing of a highly publicized three-drug strategy against AIDS will continue on 400 volunteers, even though researchers have discovered a mistake in an experiment that prompted the approach, officials said Thursday.

In February, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital announced results of a test-tube experiment showing that a combination of three medicines appeared to stop the AIDS virus.

As a result, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases quickly approved a study to find out whether the strategy worked as well in people.

On Thursday, however, the New York Times reported that the Massachusetts General team was informing a medical journal that its experiment was flawed. The three drugs had not crippled the virus with mutations, as it first appeared.

But Dr. Steven Schnittman of the institute's AIDS division noted that developing multi-drug combinations has been a major strategy against AIDS for several years. And he said other studies suggested that an experimental drug called nevirapine, one of the three used at Massachusetts General, looked promising. Doctors urged patients in the study to keep taking the medicines.

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