With the news cycle moving as fast and furious as it does nowadays, it could be easy to miss these important findings: in two recent studies, the antiviral drug, Truvada, was 100% effective in preventing HIV infection in several hundred high risk individuals, and it reduced infection by 86% in others.
Step back for a moment to take that in. Do you remember where we were in HIV treatment 20, even 30 years ago? This promises to be an extraordinary step forward.
Now, of course this pill is not perfect (“It’s no magic bullet,” as you may have read in the Newsweek piece), and there are numerous known side effects, but overall, these are extremely promising findings that bring us a step closer to controlling, and eventually eradicating this terrible disease worldwide.
Now, why are we talking about HIV if we are all about animal issues at NAIA? Well, that is simple enough: this medication, and many like it would not be available without necessary animal-based research. This is a vital, but often glossed-over fact when new breakthroughs are achieved. So while we celebrate advances in medicine that improve the health of humans and animals alike, it is important to acknowledge the positive role that animal-based research continues to play in all of our lives.