HIV

Federal lawsuit against Gilead puts patent rights on trial

Two bottles of Truvada with the blue pills sitting in a green tray.
Truvada generated $3 billion of sales in 2018. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Trump administration's decision to sue Gilead Sciences — the maker of HIV prevention pills known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP — pours gasoline on the debate about how patents and prices should work when important drugs are developed by both public institutions and private companies.

Yes, but: "None of this will address drug pricing more generally or the unique circumstances of the HIV drug market," Jen Kates, an HIV policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said in a thread on Twitter. "And ultimately, the stakes are quite high given that PrEP can save lives."

Scientists discover first new strain of HIV since 2000

A technician testing samples at a laboratory at the Republic of Tatarstan Centre for Prevention and Control of AIDS and Infectious Diseases. Yegor Aleyev/TASS
Photo: Yegor Aleyev/TASS via Getty Images

A new strain of HIV — the first since 2000 — was identified using advanced DNA sequencing. The strain is under the group of the disease responsible for the vast majority of human infections, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: While the new strain has infected only three people, who live in the Democratic Republic of Congo, these findings, via HIV test maker Abbott Laboratories, could kick off a larger conversation on how to classify new viral strains that could surface from the wider implementation of advanced DNA sequencing technology.

Go deeper: The growing HIV epidemic among young men in the Philippines