Clinical Trials Begin For Injectable Form Of PrEP To Prevent HIV
In November 2015 we reported on cabotegravir, an antiretroviral drug that could be taken via injection in order to keep HIV at undetectable levels at a rate higher than oral medications.
On Tuesday, Dec. 20 a clinical trial began to test cabotegravir as a form of HIV prevention via injection. If successful, cabotegravir could potentially be a form of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) that would be an alternative to Truvada, which is taken orally on a daily basis. If found to be effective, cabotegravir would be injected once every eight weeks.
The new trial will enroll 4,500 men who have sex with men and transgender women at 45 sites in eight countries to see whether a group that is given a cabotegravir injection every two months and takes placebo pills achieves comparable protection from HIV to a group who is given Truvada and a placebo injection. The dual placebo design of the study ensures that participants receive some form of preventive medicine. The investigators hope to study the participants for over four years and release the results by 2021.
If it’s effective, the two-month injection will be the only new drug approved to prevent HIV transmission since Truvada was approved in 2012.
Alternative options for HIV prevention can only be beneficial according to Albert Liu, research director of the HIV prevention program at the San Francisco Department of Public Health:
“I think having more available prevention options for people will be really critical,” said Liu.
“It’s similar to contraception — where there are a variety of different options for women who are seeking birth control,” he continued. “Having a range of options for HIV prevention will also be enormously helpful to bringing down new cases of HIV.”
Exciting progress! Would you consider taking an injectable form of PrEP to prevent HIV?
(H/T: The Gaily Grind)