Controversial Trial Offers Hopeful Result

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Science  27 Feb 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5355, pp. 1299
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5355.1299

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A trio of U.S. and international health organizations announced last week that a U.S.-funded trial in Thailand has demonstrated that a brief, relatively inexpensive course of drugs given during the final weeks of pregnancy can lower the transmission of HIV from mothers to their newborn infants. The trial sparked controversy because the therapy was tested against a placebo, but the sponsors say that method helped produce a clear-cut result quickly. Plans are now under way to make the cheap therapy available to thousands of HIV-infected women in the developing world, and placebo-controlled testing will no longer be used in similar trials already taking place.