New treatment model for HIV
Treatment of HIV patients must balance the need to suppress viral
replication against the harmful side effects and significant cost to
the patient of antiretroviral therapy. This tradeoff has led to the
development of various drug-sparing HIV-1 treatment strategies, which
often results in the emergence of resistant viruses and overall
treatment failure. This has prompted an interest in
induction--maintenance (IM) treatment strategies, in which brief
intensive therapy is used to reduce host viral levels, which is then
followed by a simplified and more easily tolerated maintenance regimen.
These results are important not simply because they show how this particular, albeit important, therapy strategy may be optimized, but because they illustrate the more general potential for mathematical models to influence therapy decisions. "Our experience has been that clinicians and policy makers are often hesitant to consider, sometimes even hostile towards, mathematical modeling approaches. Instead, they rely on intuition or await the results of expensive, long-term clinical trials", says Mittler. By presenting a detailed model that makes concrete quantitative predictions and gives some interesting, counter-intuitive qualitative results, this paper may help to change attitudes concerning the value of dynamical modeling approaches.
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