Rowena Johnston, vice president of research for amfAR, The Foundation For AIDS Research, said it remains to be seen if the test will be cost-effective.
According to Mallal, the test could potentially cost $100 to $150 in the United States. Ingelman-Sundberg, the Swedish researcher, put the cost at about $200.
"On the more favorable side, we certainly need more effective ways to predict who will tolerate which drugs or combinations better or worse," Johnston said. Patients who have side effects on drugs often don't bother to take them, which can make their bodies develop immunity to medications, she said.
"This might be one start towards building a battery of tests that could predict who will do well on which antiretrovirals," she said. "But I think more research could provide tools that are easy to implement and might ultimately help patients achieve high adherence so they can take full advantage of the ability of antiretroviral therapy to prolong life."
Learn more about abacavir from the National Institutes of Health.
SOURCES: Magnus Ingelman-Sundberg, Ph.D., professor, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Simon Mallal, M.B., Murdoch University & Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Australia; Rowena Johnston, Ph.D., vice president, research, The Foundation For AIDS Research, New York City; Feb. 7, 2008, New England Journal of Medicine
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