In Brief

Six-a-year anti-HIV injection ‘more effective’ than daily pill

Researchers say long-acting new preventative drug is ‘game changer’ in fight against Aids

A groundbreaking new drug injected every two months to prevent HIV is more effective than the daily pills currently used to protect again infection with the virus, researchers have announced.

 In trials involving thousands of people across seven countries, long-acting injectable drug cabotegravir, developed by GlaxoSmithKline-owned ViiV Healthcare, was found to be 66% more effective than Truvada, the most commonly used daily pill, ABC News reports.

As The New York Times notes, “additional options for prevention are sorely needed”, with around 1.7 million new HIV infections recorded last year. 

But “many people are unable or unwilling to take a daily pill” to prevent infection - a strategy known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) - “particularly in low-income countries where the coronavirus pandemic is disrupting services and access to antiretroviral drugs”, says the newspaper.

The trials of the anti-HIV jab involved “4,570 cisgender men and transgender women (people who were born male but identify as a woman) who had sex with men”, says ABC News. The participants were randomly assigned to receive Truvada, cabotegravir, placebo pills, or placebo injections. 

Over the course of the three-and-a-half-year study, 39 participants who had taken Truvada became HIV positive, compared with only 13 who got cabotegravir injections, according to the HIV Prevention Trials Network, a scientific collaborative that led the research. 

“This is a game changer - we can really impact HIV acquisition for people at risk,” said Dr Carlos del Rio, a professor at Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta who was involved in the study.

Harvard University researcher Dr Rochelle Walensky described the findings, presented this week at the Aids 2020 Conference, as “revolutionary”.

“It’s exciting to have another pharma company in the PrEP mix,” she added. “This will create competition and ideally drives costs down.”

Recommended

Could the term ‘global weirding’ help people?
Instant Opinion

Could the term ‘global weirding’ help people?

‘I will fix it’: Boris Johnson’s text to Sir James Dyson over tax issue
Sir James Dyson
Behind the scenes

‘I will fix it’: Boris Johnson’s text to Sir James Dyson over tax issue

Why does Queen Elizabeth have two birthdays?
Queen Elizabeth II
In Brief

Why does Queen Elizabeth have two birthdays?

Oscars predictions 2021: who will win the top awards?
Nomadland stars Frances McDormand
In Depth

Oscars predictions 2021: who will win the top awards?

Popular articles

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 21 April 2021
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 21 April 2021

What is Donald Trump doing now?
Donald Trump
In Depth

What is Donald Trump doing now?

London mayoral race 2021: who will win?
Night Tube Sadiq Khan
In Depth

London mayoral race 2021: who will win?