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.