Winning the Fight Against AIDS One Drug at a Time


December 1, 2014 marked World AIDS Day, with roughly 40 million deaths worldwide over the past three decades attributed to this virulent disease. While there is no known cure for AIDS the advent of multiple drug regimens has made the treatment of the HIV virus which causes AIDS manageable for many patients globally. Unfortunately there are still countries who have limited access to the variety of AIDS drug cocktails, causing experts from UNAIDS, or The United Nations AIDS agency, to caution against declaring a victory just yet.

HIV International Stats

As of June 2014 a recorded 13.6 million people across the globe received AIDS medications, which was a positive step compared to the 5 million patients who were administered treatment in 2010 worldwide. However, a large patient population remains untreated in sub-Saharan Africa due to the lack of timely treatment and awareness. The number of people infected with HIV who can live for many years with the administration of antiretroviral drugs can dramatically improve with the implementation of worldwide education and greater treatment options. Experts believe that with the push for treatment and care, as well as education regarding medication adherence, rates of infection will continue to decline. An astounding 13.6 million people are able to keep their HIV levels ultra-low due to antiretroviral drug cocktails, which in turn not only keeps them well but also prevents them from readily infecting others. The aforementioned cocktails are mandatory for treating the 55 million people worldwide who are expected to be suffering from AIDS by the year 2030.

Antiretroviral therapy has revolutionized treatment options for patients with AIDS, offering people newer and more effectual drug cocktails that may be administered in as little as one pill a day. The U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health currently recommends an optimal drug cocktail to fight the HIV virus which includes one NNRTI (Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcription Inhibitor), two NRTIs (Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors) and a Protease Inhibitor, or PI.

Ritonavir is a commonly prescribed PI which effectively disables the protease protein, thus rendering the HIV virus unable to replicate.

Similar to fellow Protease Inhibitors, the following Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcription Inhibitors target the HIV virus by curtailing the replication of it:

Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors work by creating faulty versions of the building blocks which are integral to the replication of the HIV virus, rounding out this efficacious combination cocktail. There are many efficient drugs which are commonly used as operative NRTIs, like:

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