In­ject-able AIDS drug may work as well as pills: Study

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

A two-drug cock­tail in­jected ev­ery month or two may be just as ef­fec­tive as a daily pill at keep­ing the AIDS virus un­der con­trol, said a study yes­ter­day that promised re­lief for mil­lions. At present peo­ple have no op­tion but to take life­long, daily doses of anti-retro­vi­ral ther­apy (ART) which keeps the HIV virus un­der con­trol, but does not kill it. Peo­ple who for­get to take their med­i­ca­tion run the risk of the virus re­bound­ing to make them ill, or de­vel­op­ing re­sis­tance to the drugs they were us­ing-which would re­quire a more ex­pen­sive re­place­ment.

In an on­go­ing study, nearly 300 HIV-pos­i­tive peo­ple were given an ini­tial course of daily pills to bring the virus un­der con­trol. Once this was achieved, some con­tin­ued tak­ing oral treat­ment as main­te­nance while the rest were shifted onto the pro­to­type, in­jectable ARV, ad­min­is­tered ev­ery four or eight weeks. At 96 weeks, the virus was still sub­dued in 84 per­cent of the pill-tak­ing group, 87 per­cent in the four­weekly in­jectable group, and 94 per­cent in the eight-weekly group.

The re­sults were pub­lished in The Lancet med­i­cal jour­nal to co­in­cide with an HIV sci­ence con­fer­ence in Paris of the In­ter­na­tional AIDS So­ci­ety. In 2016, there were some 36.7 mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing with HIV of whom 19.5 mil­lion had ac­cess to ART, ac­cord­ing to UNAIS. The UN rec­om­mends ART for all HIV-pos­i­tive peo­ple.

Next rev­o­lu­tion

“The in­tro­duc­tion of sin­gletablet med­i­ca­tion rep­re­sented a leap for­ward in ART dos­ing, and long-ac­tive anti-retro­vi­ral in­jec­tions may rep­re­sent the next rev­o­lu­tion in HIV ther­apy by pro­vid­ing an op­tion that cir­cum­vents the bur­den of daily dos­ing,” said study co-au­thor David Margo lis of Vi Iv Health­care, a phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany in­volved in de­vel­op­ing the in­jectable drug. “Ad­her­ence to med­i­ca­tion re­mains an im­por­tant chal­lenge in HIV treat­ment.”

Also in­volved in the study is Janssen Sci­ences, a com­pany in the John­son & John­son group.

Last week, the UN warned that coun­tries must halt the rise of AIDS drug re­sis­tance to pre­vent a swell in new in­fec­tions and deaths and spi­ral­ing treat­ment costs.

WASH­ING­TON: This file photo shows Dr Ray Martins, chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer at the Whit­man-Walker Clinic in Wash­ing­ton, DC, hold­ing a hand­ful of Tru­vada, the first pill rec­om­mended for HIV pre­ven­tion in healthy peo­ple who are at high risk of get­ting HIV through un­pro­tected sex, or who in­ject il­licit drugs.

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