Clinical monitoring is as effective as lab test for AIDS: Study
Despite data suggesting better AIDS treatment it is hard for the patients of poor developing countries to avail guided treatments with advanced diagnosis. However, a recent study conducted by British medical journal The Lancet has offered some kind of hope by observing that simple clinical symptoms is as good as therapeutic diagnosis conducted in high-tech labs.
Considering the number of HIV infected people world over and the unavailability of advanced drugs and therapies by simply observing physical signs or deteriorating health for doctors to provide effective treatment certainly a great signs for region where HIV-infected people are treated without proper laboratory test.
The recent study made public by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in a press statement on Friday (April 25).
As said in the press release: "The results of this study should reassure clinicians in Africa and Asia, who are treating literally millions of people without these laboratory tests, that they are not compromising patient safety," said a coauthor of the paper, Dr Charles Gilks, who is the Coordinator of Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) and HIV Care at WHO in Geneva. "In fact, the outcome of their treatment is almost as good as of those patients in the USA and Europe where laboratory-guided treatment is the norm."
The study conducted by a group of UK based scientists along with WHO aimed to find out the result of different approaches in monitoring antiretroviral therapy using clinical sings and symptoms on one half and more sophisticated and costly but far less accessible immunological and virological load tests on the other.
However, the research was based on a mathematical model and not on real patients and was designed to identify emerging problems and problems that might appear after long-term use of ART. The model was developed and tested in London and had shown accurately to predict the course of the epidemic in the UK over 20 years, but with various changes to reflect realities on the ground.
The study reveals that the outcome of the symptom based therapeutic treatment is as good as the one of laboratory-guided treatment. It puts a five-year survival rate for patients with clinical symptoms are 82 per cent opposed to 83 of those who have undergone laboratory monitoring.
The 5-year survival rate was 83% for individuals monitored for viral load, 82% for CD4 (a critical immune component) monitoring, and 82% for clinical monitoring alone. Corresponding values over a 24-year period were 67%, 64% and 64% respectively.
Hence, the study some how recommends and so the World Health Organisation to conduct treatment through clinical observation as cost-effective measure in places where expensive laboratory is not easily accessible especially in those poor regions of Asia and Africa.
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