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The Nation

Scientists plan to test the drug azidothymidine (AZT) on pregnant women infected with the AIDS virus in the hope that it will reduce the chance of their unborn babies being infected, the Washington Post reported. Administering such a powerful drug during pregnancy, risking possible side effects in both mother and fetus, is an unprecedented break with medical tradition, which holds that drugs are to be avoided in pregnant women whenever possible. But AIDS researchers said they believe it is justified by studies in pregnant mice that suggest AZT may be able to protect the fetus from the virus or at least moderate its effects. The prevailing estimate is that half of infants born to infected mothers will be infected with the virus, but some experts put the figure as low as 20% or as high as 60%.


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