Feature

U.S. AIDS drug flawed

The week's news at a glance.

Kampala, Uganda

The National Institutes of Health admitted this week that it withheld potentially damaging results of research into an AIDS drug that the U.S. donated to Africa. In 2002, President Bush announced a $500 million program to provide African countries with stocks of nevirapine, a drug that helps prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to babies during birth. Since then, thousands of African women have received the drug. But the NIH did not tell the White House that some of its research, particularly a study in Uganda, suggested a high level of adverse, even lethal, reactions to the drug. African doctors shrugged off the news, saying the drug had already saved thousands of lives. “What you may call a serious side effect in the U.S. is not a serious side effect in Kampala,” said Francis Mmiro, a lead doctor in the Uganda study.

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