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ARROW trial wins BMJ UK Research Paper of the Year award

09 May 2014

Last night the ARROW trial team won the British Medical Journal (BMJ) UK Research Paper of the Year. The BMJ awards recognise "the best of the best" in UK medicine, according to BMJ Editor in Chief, Fiona Godlee, so receiving the award is a huge honour, and testimony to the work of all involved in the trial. The award was for a paper published last year in the Lancet.

The judges for the awards said "It was a fantastic achievement to do this trial, and its results really matter. It will make a difference and change practice. The team’s collaboration was very strong."

The ARROW trial involved 1,206 children from Uganda and Zimbabwe, and looked at how best to treat children with HIV. It showed that modern HIV treatment regimens with three drugs can be delivered safely without the need for routine laboratory testing to check for side effects. This could help to get more children on HIV treatment in Africa, where access to laboratories is limited.

Diana Gibb, Chief Investigator for the trial, said "We are very pleased to receive this award. When the ARROW trial started, children in Africa were not even tested for HIV, let alone getting treatment. Even now, only around a third of children in need of HIV treatment have access to it. ARROW showed that children’s access to treatment should not be limited by lack of laboratory facilities, providing a way to help increase coverage. This award is recognition of the importance of the results, and the efforts of the participants and teams in Uganda, Zimbabwe and the UK in carrying out the trial."

The ARROW trial also looked at whether children who are stable on HIV treatment need to continue to take cotrimoxazole to prevent infections. It found that even children whose immune system had improved because of HIV treatment benefited from continuing cotrimoxazole. In fact, continuing cotrimoxazole actually saves the health system money, as it reduces the need for children to be admitted to hospital due to infections.

The ARROW trial was a collaboration between

  • MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL
  • University of Zimbabwe
  • Joint Clinical Research Centre in Kampala, Uganda
  • Paediatric Infectious Diseases Clinic, Kampala, Uganda
  • MRC/Uganda Virus Research Institute Programme on AIDS, Entebbe, Uganda

It was funded by the Medical Research Council and the Department for International Development. ViiV/GlaxoSmithKline supplied the drugs for the trial and paid for the viral load tests.