Gilead Sciences Tag

Gilead Sciences’ Miracle Drug

in Analysis

It was 1986. I was a junior high school student in Soviet Russia. In political information (propaganda) class, the teacher told us that the HIV virus was killing millions of people in the U.S. Though she didn’t say it explicitly, she made it sound like HIV was a just punishment for the U.S.’s flawed economic and political system. When asked if this virus could be cured, she said that because it constantly mutated it was incurable. (And in fact, HIV reproduces 12 million times daily.) Once you get sick, it’s a death sentence, she told us. I still remember the chilling and morbid certainty in her voice.For a very long time, she was right.Fast-forward to 2016. Thanks to the once-a-day miracle drugs Truvada and Atripla from Gilead Sciences, a biotech company in Northern California, AIDS is not a death sentence anymore. Today, people infected with the HIV virus can expect to live an almost normal lifespan. Their lifestyle and energy level will not be different from a healthy person’s. If they continue to follow the regimen, they will not spread the virus. Gilead’s drugs completely eradicate the virus from the bloodstream (though it still hides in bone marrow and lymph...