The global call for HIV treatment has been spurred by 5 million deaths since the first AIDS death in 1981. Covid-19, a new drug that is used to treat those with HIV, may now be responsible for more than half of these deaths. The side effects of Covid-19 are uncertain and some argue it’s too soon to introduce such a drug into society.
For the past few decades, scientists have been trying to develop a drug that will not just suppress physical deterioration caused by HIV but also stop it from advancing the disease further. Up until now, there has only been one successful attempt at developing such a drug with no adverse side effects but this recent development might very well change all of that.
The newest drug that will be introduced to society, Covid-19, is the newest method that scientists are trying to use in order to suppress progression of HIV.
Covid-19 has been tested on thousands of human subjects and proved to halt advancement by 99 percent. Still, this isn’t the only problem; the other issue is the adverse side-effects that Covid-19 might have on users.
The side effects of Covid-19 are still unknown but it seems the drug only stimulates the immune system which is already weakened by HIV. This chemical imbalance may cause some serious problems as some argue there’s not enough research or testing to make such a claim about an entirely new drug.
One of the biggest problems is determining how much damage a chemical can do to a compromised immune system. This is especially concerning as it’s only been recently that scientists have even found a way to stop HIV from advancing. The risk for harm by taking Covid-19 seems to be high and that without knowing all of the risks, there is no way to determine how effective this drug really is.
The World Health Organization has stated that all people who are not responding to existing treatments for HIV or AIDS should be given access to Covid-19 in order to stop the virus’ advancement. The problem with this statement is that WHO insists on giving Covid-19 to those who do not need immediate treatment and only seem to insist that it be given as quickly as possible.
This is problematic as such a drug could actually cause severe damage to those who are HIV positive but haven’t progressed to AIDS yet. There’s also the issue of Covid-19 possibly making advancement faster especially in those who are not in immediate need of treatment.
The initial problem is whether or not it’s too soon to introduce such a drug into society when there are still so many unknowns about the side effects and whether Covid-19 will truly work. These concerns have brought up issues about possible subtle biochemical manipulations of the immune system with no evidence supporting their safety or efficacy.
The other problem is that the drug’s testing seems to have been conducted by Big Pharma which raises concerns about how much Covid-19 will cost in comparison to other treatments available on the market today. This is especially concerning when considering WHO’s updated report also suggests that it may be too expensive for developing countries in Africa and Asia.
There are also concerns about using Covid-19 if it could cause an imbalance in the immune system as this is already weakened by HIV and could make things worse. Even those who were responding to treatment for HIV but not as well as they would like, such as those receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) or even cART, may lose the benefits if their immune systems are further compromised.