London — Three decades after approval of the first HIV/AIDS treatment, HIV medicine is seeing a new wave of innovation, with scientists reporting positive data on Monday for improved drug cocktails and a novel experimental vaccine. Adding to optimism is the success of antiretrovirals (ARVs) in preventing infection — an approach known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) — as well as the growing hope for an eventual "functional" cure that may keep the virus at bay without drugs. Researchers believe such advances are necessary to stay ahead of a virus that can all too often develop resistance to medicines, despite the use since 1996 of three-or four-drug combinations that mean HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence. "New products are needed. The Achilles heel for us is drug resistance because the virus is incredibly quick to mutate," Linda-Gail Bekker, deputy director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre in SA, said. Bekker is also president of the International AIDS Society, which organised ...

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