- - Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A pill that has long been used to treat HIV has moved one step closer to becoming the first drug approved to prevent healthy people from becoming infected with the virus that causes AIDS.

The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that Gilead Sciences’ Truvada appears to be safe and effective for HIV prevention. It concluded that taking the pill daily could spare patients “infection with a serious and life-threatening illness that requires lifelong treatment.”

On Thursday, a panel of FDA advisers will consider the review when it votes on whether Truvada should be approved as a preventative treatment for people who are at high risk of contracting HIV through sexual intercourse. The FDA is not required to follow the advice of its panels, but it usually does.

An estimated 1.2 million Americans have HIV, which attacks the immune system and, unless treated with antiviral drugs, develops into AIDS, a fatal condition in which the body cannot fight off infections. If Truvada is approved, it would be a major breakthrough in the 30-year campaign against the AIDS epidemic. No other drugs have been proved to prevent HIV, and a vaccine is believed to be decades away.

Gilead Sciences Inc. has marketed Truvada since 2004 for people infected with the virus. It is a combination of two older HIV drugs, Emtriva and Viread.

NEW YORK

Twitter fights subpoena in NYC Occupy arrest case

NEW YORK — Twitter is resisting an attempt by New York City prosecutors to gain access to the account of an Occupy Wall Street protester.

The San Francisco-based micro-blogging service filed court papers Monday asking a judge to quash a subpoena in which the Manhattan district attorney demanded the tweets and user information of writer and activist Malcolm Harris.

Mr. Harris was among about 700 people arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge last fall during a protest against financial inequality.

Among other things, prosecutors want to look at all of Mr. Harris‘ tweets in the weeks before and after the march.

Mr. Harris tried to fight the subpoena on his own and lost. Twitter’s lawyers say prosecutors should be required to get a search warrant.

MASSACHUSETTS

Plans for casino near Patriots’ home halted

FOXBOROUGH — Efforts to bring a $1 billion resort-style casino proposed by Las Vegas casino operator Steve Wynn to the New England Patriots’ hometown have been suspended.

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