The drug nevirapine taken by women in late pregnancy to stop their babies being infected with HIV during birth has a major downside, according to the latest issue of the New Scientist.
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health in Frederick, Maryland, looked more carefully for specific nevirapine-resistance mutations in HIV from women given the treatment in Soweto, South Africa, and found more than a fifth had some drug-resistant HIV a year later, the magazine said, which is a challenge to the previous suggestion that any nevirapine-resistant HIV arising as a result of the treatment disappear from the mother's body shortly after birth.
The new study result means that if a woman takes nevirapine again, whether to treat her own disease or protect a subsequent child, it may not work. Such drug failures may already be happening in women treated years earlier, says main research Sarah Palmer.
Palmer says that ideally women should get full-time therapy with several drugs, to stop the virus becoming resistant to any one drug.