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Drug Used to Prevent HIV Transmission from Mother to Child Damages DNA

ells (reticulocytes; RET) containing micronuclei (MN), indicators of chromosomal damage, in blood samples of HIV-infected women and their infants exposed to antiretroviral drugs during pregnancy. Most, but not all, of the prenatal treatment regimens in this study included AZT. At birth, the researchers observed ten-fold increases in the frequencies of micronucleated reticulocytes (MN-RET) in the women and infants whose prenatal drug regimen included AZT. No increases were detected in the women and infants who did not receive prenatal AZT. The frequency of MN-RET in the AZT-exposed newborns decreased over the first 6 months of life to levels seen in nonexposed infants. These findings imply a strong potential for AZT-induced genetic damage in the developing fetus. The authors state "We are concerned about the long-term health implications for these infants because the MN increases noted in this study add to the growing body of evidence that ZDV [AZT] readily induces genetic damage," The authors conclude by emphasizing that they do not advocate eliminating the use of AZT in the treatment of HIV because it is highly effective in preventing mother to child transmission of the virus. However they recommend long-term monitoring of AZT-exposed infants who are HIV uninfected.

Source-Eurekalert/B
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TAG: Drug Used Prevent HIV Transmission from Mother Child Damages DNA

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