Cheap antibiotic prevents pneumonia for HIV-positive children

Dr. Diane Gibb said a group of scientists had to stop a trial test of the antibiotic with HIV-infected children in Zambia becasue it was so successful.

A low-cost antibiotic which has performed well in tests should be given to all &to=' target=_blank>HIV children in developing countries to prevent infections such as pneumonia and reduce deaths, scientists said on Friday.

A daily dose of the drug co-trimoxazole nearly halved the death rate in youngsters taking it compared to those given a placebo, reports Reuters.

According to New Scientist, the &to=' target=_blank>World Health Organization and UNICEF are so impressed with the study’s findings that they have already vowed to alter their standard guidelines to governments on how to tackle AIDS.

Researchers from the UK and Zambia gave the drug or a placebo to HIV-infected children aged one to 14 attending the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia. They then followed the treated children for 19 months.

Using the antibiotic also reduced hospital admissions by 23 per cent.

The research, led by Dr Diana Gibb from the MRC’s Clinical Trials Unit and funded by the Department for International Development, was reported today in The Lancet medical journal.

Mr Benn said: "This is a breakthrough in medical research which can help to save children’s lives all over the world.

"Each day as many as 1300 children die from HIV and Aids-related illnesses globally.

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