Cheap antibiotic to save children’s lives

In an article published in the Lancet, investigators report how they slashed the death rate of children infected with &to=http:// ' target=_blank>AIDS by nearly half using a common, cheap antibiotic drug.

The 20-month study involved more than 500 &to=http:// ' target=_blank>HIV-infected children between the ages of one and 14 in Zambia. In an effort to prevent life-threatening infections in immune-compromised children, investigators gave daily doses of the inexpensive and widely available drug, co-trimoxazole, to half the children. The rest received a placebo or sugar pill.

When the initial results showed that the antibiotic reduced the death rate by 42 percent, the study was stopped and all the children were put on co-trimoxazole therapy, says Voice of America.

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