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US Approves New HIV Drug; Could Help When Other Drugs Do Not

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug that could help HIV patients who are not being helped by other HIV-fighting medications.

The drug is etravirine. It will be sold under the name Intelence.

The FDA says when used in combination with other anti-HIV drugs, Intelence increases the number of white blood cells that help fight infections. The agency calls the drug a "significant new product" for patients not responding to currently-available medications.

A nearly six-month-long study of the drug found patients who took Intelence and other drugs experienced reductions in the level of HIV in their blood.

The FDA said the drug has not been studied in pregnant women.

Health-care products maker Johnson & Johnson won the agency's so-called "priority" approval Friday.

An official with the company (Roger Pomerantz) says tens of thousands of patients worldwide could be candidates for the drug.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.