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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 6, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 45
Six injections per year may replace daily HIV meds
Section One
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Six injections per year may replace daily HIV meds

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Daily HIV meds may be phased out in favor of injections administered every two months, a healthcare research company said on November 3.

Clinical trials by ViiV Healthcare, backed by pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson, demonstrate that bimonthly injections of rilpivirine and cabotegravir developed by ViiV can be just as effective in controlling HIV as daily doses of the same drugs.

In the ViiV study, patients who received a bimonthly injection had a 95% viral suppression rate, while those who remained on daily pills had a 91% viral suppression rate.

Harvard Medical School researcher Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes said the results 'provide an extremely important proof of concept that this approach is feasible.'

The advantage of injections administered every two months is that this method would eliminate concerns about adherence to a daily dosage regime.

'Having longer-acting drugs...goes a long way in relieving a burden on patients,' Kuritzkes said.

Johnson & Johnson's head of pharmaceuticals, Paul Stoffels, said the injection could potentially be a 'transformational' way to fight HIV. He added that the new HIV treatment regime could be on the market by 2020, if the initial result is confirmed by a larger trial.

'ViiV Healthcare is committed to identifying new therapeutic options for physicians and people living with HIV,' the company's Dr. John Pottage said.

'These initial phase IIb data investigating long-acting cabotegravir and rilpivirine are promising and build on the results we have seen to date. We look forward to seeing further results as we move into phase III.'

In 2014 researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health published an animal study suggesting that an injection of antiretroviral drugs can give 100% PrEP protection from HIV.

In two separate trials, monkeys injected with Truvada showed resistance to HIV infection lasting one month. Further research suggested that protection against HIV could last up to three months.

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