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Pharmaceutical Company’s Shares Soar on AIDS Research Findings

December 31, 1992

LONDON (AP) _ Wellcome PLC’s stock soared Monday on a report that a combination of the British pharmaceutical company’s herpes medication and the anti-AIDS drug AZT cut mortality by half among AIDS patients during a trial.

Wellcome shares jumped $1.83 to close at $19.92 on London’s Stock Exchange Monday.

Wellcome’s study indicated that the death rate of patients treated with its herpes drug Acyclovir combined with AZT was 10 percent during the trial versus a death rate of 20 percent for patients treated with AZT only, said company spokeswoman Rosemary Hennings.

″Over the course of the study, sequential analysis of the data leads one toward those figures. A comprehensive review of the complete data set will be conducted as rapidly as possible and results made available in 1992.″

She added that the two-year trial involved 300 patients in Britain, Germany and Australia and that the course for each patient was 48 weeks.

The Sunday Times reported that a doctor involved in the trials said the early results were ″a minor step forward″ in treating AIDS.

Dr. Brian Gazzard of London’s Westminster Hospital was quoted as saying: ″The results have not been published yet, but I would not say that it is a dramatic effect.″

There is no cure for acquired immune deficiency syndrome, a disease in which a virus attacks the body’s immune system, leaving victims susceptible to a wide variety of infections and cancers.

Acyclovir is prescribed for various kinds of herpes infections, including genital herpes, shingles and cold sores.

AZT is the main drug used to combat AIDS.

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