Healthalert

GA Voice - - News - By Me­lanie Thomp­son, MD

ing reg­i­mens. This drug acts at the end of the vi­ral life cy­cle, stop­ping the virus at the stage of cap­sid for­ma­tion and caus­ing re­leased viruses to be “im­ma­ture” and in­ac­tive. An early study showed po­tent an­tivi­ral ac­tiv­ity and no sig­nif­i­cant side ef­fects (not un­com­mon in early stud­ies). A study for pa­tients with vi­ral re­bound is now en­rolling.

Fi­nally, let’s chat about the most buzzed drugs on the planet, long-act­ing cabote­gravir (a cousin of do­lute­gravir) and rilpivirine. Th­ese drugs are be­ing co-formulated as an oral daily pill, and stud­ies are on­go­ing. But the real buzz is about in­jectable forms be­ing stud­ied in LATTE-2, where both are given ev­ery 4 or 8 weeks fol­low­ing vi­ral sup­pres­sion on oral drugs. Pos­si­ble ad­van­tages in­clude no pills, in­jec­tions monthly or less, and bet­ter ad­her­ence. Risks in­clude long-act­ing drugs “trapped” in your body if side ef­fects or vi­ral re­sis­tance de­velop, and the risk of vi­ral re­sis­tance if in­jec­tions are missed or not given on time. Long-act­ing cabote­gravir also is be­ing de­vel­oped for pre-ex­po­sure pro­phy­laxis (PrEP). But we’re talk­ing 2019 or 2020 if ap­proved for treat­ment, and even longer for PrEP. Stay tuned!

While we worry that com­pa­nies are shift­ing re­sources to other ar­eas, like hep­ati­tis C, the HIV pipe­line is ro­bust for now, and there are even other drugs not cov­ered here. Per­haps our big­gest chal­lenge is to en­sure that all drugs re­main avail­able and af­ford­able to peo­ple with HIV.

Dr. Me­lanie Thomp­son is prin­ci­pal in­ves­ti­ga­tor of ARCA and a mem­ber of the DHHS An­tiretro­vi­ral Guide­lines Panel. She is also Ex­ec­u­tive Ed­i­tor of the Ful­ton County Task Force on HIV/AIDS’s Strat­egy to End AIDS in Ful­ton County. For more in­for­ma­tion about stud­ies of do­ravirine, GS-9883, fos­tem­savir, and BMS-955176, call ARCA at 404-876-2317. Dr. Thomp­son dis­closes that ARCA re­ceives re­search fund­ing from the makers of all th­ese drugs.

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