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(dob - )
Year of Discovery: 1989
New AIDS Drug Invented Has Far Fewer Side Effects
Nghe Nguyen-Ga teamed with Bernard Belleau to invent an effective alternative to the anti-AIDS drug AZT. Working together at the IAF BioChem International Inc., based in Montreal, the pair developed Lamivudine. Commonly referred to as 3TC, the new medication was a significant breakthrough in the fight against AIDS. Not only was 3TC effective in fighting AIDS, it had far fewer side effects than AZT. This fact made it a popular choice with both patients and physicians. The drug was a major success, and is credited with saving over 2 million lives.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) originated in West Africa, with the first confirmed case being recorded in 1959. The virus slowly spread across Africa and then, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, exploded throughout other parts of the world. HIV is the underlying cause of AIDS, a disease that attacks the immune system, and is passed from person to person through contact with bodily fluids. As AIDS progresses, individuals become less able to ward off infections and fall prey to a variety of diseases and infections that normally are easily fought off by the body. Among the common diseases initially associated with AIDS was Kaposi's sarcoma, a cancer that can affect both internal organs and the skin. Victims also began showing up at emergency rooms with a variety of flu-like symptoms and an unusual form of pneumonia known as pneumocystis. Health officials initially thought the disease was limited to homosexual men living in large metropolitan areas. But, they quickly discovered that both hemophiliacs and heterosexual intravenous drug users were also being infected. A French physician, Luc Montagnier, initially discovered that the underlying cause of AIDS was a retrovirus.,This was a major breakthrough, allowing other scientists to develop treatments, and AZT became the first drug approved to fight AIDS. The development of 3TC was a significant development, especially because of its fewer side effects, and it became a major force in the fight against AIDS.
Introduction by Tim Anderson
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Wikipedia entry on Lamivudine referencing Nguyen-Ga:
Emory University news release announcing patent award for Lamivudine referencing Nguyen-Ga:
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