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China Begins Human Trials For HIV/AIDS Drug

Chinese scientists have announced that they are staring human trials for testing the efficacy of a drug that has proved to be useful for both HIV/AIDS as well as hepatitis B. The chemical, 1,5-di-O-caffeoylquinic acid (1,5-DCQA),// is an extract from a Chinese herb called Inula britannic, has worked on HIV as well as HBV, according to Dong Junxing, a leading scientist with the Academy of Military Medical Sciences.

"If clinical experiments back up initial findings, the compound will be an irreversible HIV and HBV integrase inhibitor, which provides a new alternative for AIDS and hepatitis B treatment," he said on Tuesday. "Preliminary experiments on animals show that suspending, or stopping, the use of the compound during treatment does not lead to deterioration of the disease, which will be a big advance from current anti-HBV and HIV/AIDS medicines, such as the popular cocktail therapy." Professor Dong and his team of reserachers began testing extracts form 100 kinds of Chinese herbs way back in 1993. After successfully extracting useful compounds, they started testing on monkeys and ducks. "Half of the monkeys were recuperating; and the other half continued in a stable condition with our treatment," Dong said of his animal experiments. They have now begun testing on 200 healthy human volunteers, "If it goes smoothly, a new medicine will be on the market in two years," he said. "We will try a combined prescription of the new drug and current medicines to see whether it can have better efficacy."

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