Sunday, June 27, 2010

HIV Drug Resistance Peaked in '05;
New Study Belies UCLA Model

(Sally Blower)

Back in February, the latest in a long line of hysterical HIV math models created by UCLA/David Geffen School of Medicine professor Sally Blower, caused a lot of controversy over her allegations of dangerous resistant HIV strains emerging here. Blower and colleagues theorized that such strains were being transmitted from HIV poz persons, and that the strains were of international concern. The researchers concluded:

If the resistant strains we have identified in our analyses evolve in these [African] countries, they could significantly compromise HIV treatment programs. Consequently, currently circulating NNRTI-resistant strains in San Francisco pose a great and immediate threat to global public health.

This finding was a continuation of Blower's decade-long Chicken Little science, alleging that transmitted resistant strains, versus resistance acquired through long-term use of AIDS cocktails, was being ignored by people with AIDS, our doctors and nurses, and public health officials.

Many activists, AIDS orgs, health writers and the SF Department of Public Health soundly rejected Blower's alarmist theories, because hard and independent data was missing to back up her hysteria.

A new study from researchers affiliated with GlaxoSmithKline recently came out, with data further undermining Blower's allegations. From the National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project article on the study, emphasis mine:

Prevalence of major mutations conferring resistance to the first three antiretroviral classes appeared to peak in 2005 and to fall through 2009 among people enrolling in clinical trials across the United States [1]. Double- and triple-class resistance and nonnucleoside mutations also appeared to be waning sharply in untreated people.

Lisa Ross and GlaxoSmithKline colleagues used both the 2009 IAS-USA list of mutations and the World Health Organization (WHO) surveillance list to categorize major mutations conferring resistance to nucleosides (NRTIs), nonnucleosides (NNRTIs), and protease inhibitors (PIs) in 3829 antiretroviral-naive people enrolling in GSK clinical trials in 36 states and Washington, DC. [...]

Almost 4,000 patients is a heck of a lot of people, and they came from a high number of states, and the findings reveal that in the population of patients entering clinical trials, the resistance rate was not out of control or even rising.

Should Blower and her colleagues ever deign to leave their isolated ivory towers and agree to hold public forums in San Francisco about their research, and the many valid questions about their alarming conclusions not borne out by other researchers and front-line health care professionals, we might finally learn what motivates them and their faulty HIV math models.

Public health and smart HIV control and treatment policies are ill-served by Blower's research at UCLA's Geffen School of Medicine.

No comments: