MONDAY, Aug. 6, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Pfizer's Selzentry (maraviroc), an oral medication to treat the virus that causes AIDS, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the company said Monday.
The drug is designed to block viral entry into disease-fighting white blood cells. This reduces viral load and increases T-cell counts in people who are already being treated for certain strains of HIV, the company said in a statement.
Selzentry, Pfizer said, is the first in a new class of oral HIV medicines in more than 10 years. So-called CCR5 antagonists are designed to stop the virus outside the surface of cells before it enters, rather than fighting the virus inside as do other oral HIV medicines.
The drug was granted accelerated approval, a process designed for medicines that appear to provide a significant therapeutic benefit over existing drugs for serious or life-threatening diseases.
Pfizer said it would provide longer-term data required for the FDA to consider traditional approval.
The drug is expected on store shelves by mid-September, the company said.
To learn more about HIV/AIDS, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.