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A monthly injection could soon replace daily HIV meds #HIV #AIDS

A monthly injection could soon replace daily HIV meds #HIV #AIDS

This is pretty big.

I’m not HIV positive, but I obviously know a lot of people that are. Life expectancies are just the same as anyone else, but there is a slight catch: if you ask anyone who’s positive they’ll tell you the truth. It’s not a death sentence, but it is a game changer. You need to make your doctor visits and take your meds. For someone who’s not used to taking meds, daily adherence could be a challenge.

That said, a monthly injectable dose of HIV meds may be closer to reality than we have ever had previously:

Just 32-weeks into the 96-week phase 2b trial, known as LATTE 2, researchers were so impressed with results they announced them to the press and are presenting them in an upcoming conference. The study compared a long-acting injectable combination of two separate drugs (cabetogravir and rilpivirine ) with a three-drug daily pill regime (which paired cabotegravir with two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors).

Once HIV enters T4 white blood cells, the virus uses an enzyme, called reverse transcriptase, to copy parts of its RNA into the cell’s human DNA via a process called “reverse transcription.” Rilpivirine blocks that reverse transcription process by binding to and blocking the enzyme. Meanwhile cabetogravir attacks HIV at another point in the virus’s lifecycle. After the virus transcribes its RNA into DNA, it then must integrate that DNA into the white blood cell’s DNA. It does this with the help of another enzyme, integrase, which cabetogravir blocks from doing its job.

Patricipants in the clinical trials where either virally suppressed on antiretroviral therapy (ART) or were HIV-positive and not previously on medication (what researchers call “ART-naïve” or “treatment-naïve”). After reaching virologic suppression on oral therapy the patients were subsequently randomized to one of three studies to receive either the injections every 4 or 8 weeks or continue on the oral treatments.

Regardless of frequency of the shots, patients receiving intramuscular injections of the long-acting formulation had viral suppression rates comparable with daily combination therapy. However, patients on monthly injections reported more pain at the injection site then those receiving the shots every two months.

Overall, injection site pain was also the most commonly reported side effect, and it was extreme enough lead a minority of participants to withdraw from the study due to “injection intolerance.”

John C Pottage, Jr., chief scientific and medical officer at ViiV Healthcare focused on the trials’ positives, saying, in a written statement, “These initial phase IIb data investigating long-acting cabotegravir and rilpivirine are promising and build on the results we have seen to date.  We look forward to seeing further results as we move into phase III.”

 

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