Czech scientist unveils "revolutionary" new AIDS drug

Scientists have been battling for almost two decades to develop a cure for AIDS. While they may still be some years away from developing a vaccine, there has been significant progress in helping AIDS sufferers live a normal life. The latest breakthrough comes from the Czech Republic, and AIDS experts say it could improve the lives of thousands - perhaps millions - of AIDS patients around the world. It's a new drug called Viread, developed by a Czech scientist called Antonin Holy. Experts say Viread is far more powerful than any other AIDS drug, and only needs to be taken once a day. Dr Holy's research was funded by the California-based drug company Gilead Sciences, and earlier Radio Prague's Lucie Mouckova spoke to Gilead's Vice President Norbert Bischofberger about Viread.

Radio Prague: Who carried out the testing?

NB: The chemical synthesis was done here at the Academy by Dr Holy, the first in-vitro, inter-viral testing was carried out by Dr de Clerk, who is at the Riga Institute in Leuven, Belgium, and all the clinical development was carried out by Gilead Sciences, which is a company headquartered in Foster City, California.

RP: How long did it take to develop this drug, and how long will it take to make it available to patients?

NB: The time from the first human clinical study to approval in the United States took approximately five years, which is very rapid for new medicines. The drug is available now in pharmacies in the United States; we hope it will be available in the European Union early next year. We're also actively pursuing additional filings in major markets like Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Brazil and Argentina. I hate to talk in superlatives, but this drug is clearly a big improvement in AIDS drugs, and it will make a big difference for AIDS patients and their physicians.

The Vice President of the Gilead Sciences drug company, Norbert Bischofberger, speaking to Radio Prague's Lucie Mouckova about the new Viread AIDS drug.

Author: Lucie Moučková
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