Trial shows promise for PrEP alternative taken every two months

prep hiv prevention injection syringe stock photo
Photo: Pixabay

A new long-acting HIV prevention drug injected once every two months as an alternative to a daily pill for PrEP has seen success in a major trial.

Currently, people who are at high risk of HIV can take a daily pill that’s 99% effective at stopping transmission.

But drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced promising results of a new option. Those at risk could get the long-acting injectable drug once every other month instead.

The drug, called cabotegravir, was trialled on men who have sex with men (MSM), including gay and bi men, as well as transgender women.

More than 4,600 people from across North and South America, Africa and Asia took part.

GSK said independent review of the study’s results found the drug was more effective than standard once-daily tablets.

Myron S Cohen, co-principal investigator on the study, said an estimated 1.7 million people contract HIV each year.

“To lower that number, we believe more prevention options are needed in addition to currently available oral tablets for daily use,” Cohen said.

“If approved, a new injectable agent, such as long-acting cabotegravir administered every two months, could play an important role in reducing HIV transmission and helping to end the HIV epidemic.”

Long-acting PrEP injection could simplify HIV prevention

No regulators have yet approved cabotegravir for the treatment or prevention of HIV anywhere in the world.

But if it does get approval, the injectable drug could significantly simplify HIV prevention for those at risk of transmission.

Kimberly Smith from GSK-owned ViiV Healthcare said the company are thrilled to see the drug’s “high efficacy” in the trial.

“New options are needed for HIV prevention that offer an effective alternative to daily oral PrEP,” she said.

“If approved, this long-acting injectable [would] reduce the frequency of dosing from 365 days to six times per year.”

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