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Glossary

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acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

A late stage of HIV infection, characterized by a deterioration of the immune system that leaves the body vulnerable to a range of infections and cancers.

Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient

Any substance or mixture of substances intended to cause positive effects in the diagnosis, improvement, treatment or prevention of a disease. In a medical product, the chemical or mixture of chemicals that demonstrate(s) biological activity.

adverse event

An unwanted effect, either measured in or reported by participants in a clinical trial. This term is used whether or not the effect is believed to have been caused by the product being studied.

adverse reaction

An unwanted effect, or side effect, detected in clinical trial participants and attributed to the product being studied in that trial. Also applies to marketed and approved products.

AIDS

acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

antibodies

Proteins found in the blood and other bodily fluids that are used by the immune system to identify and counteract foreign objects, such as bacteria and viruses.

antigen

A molecule recognized by the immune system.  This includes molecules specifically recognized by antibodies or by T cells. Molecules known as foreign antigens are associated with toxins, bacteria, viruses, foreign blood cells and cells from transplanted organs. The unrecognized shape of these foreign molecules triggers the immune system to produce antibodies or to activate T cells, thereby fighting an infection.

antiretroviral

A drug that attacks a retrovirus, like HIV, by inhibiting binding to and entering into a human cell or by preventing the virus from producing more copies of itself once inside the cell. ARVs reduce the spread of virally-infected cells throughout the body.

API

active pharmaceutical ingredient

ARV

antiretroviral

Attachment Inhibitor

Class of anti-HIV (ARV) drugs that prevents the virus from attaching to a healthy host cell, thereby preventing cell infection.