Scientist believe they have not only found a better weapon to treat people with AIDS but may have found a way to prevent people contracting HIV int he first place. University of Hong Kong scientists are working with others have developed a new antibody drug that will help all infected and prevent further infections.
The drug, named “BiIA-SG”, will be a long term treatment as opposed to the daily treatments people need to take currently.
Testing the drug on mice showed that mice given the drug before being infected with HIV were protected from the virus for about a week, and when mice were infected with HIV before being treated, 42% were tested and came back as “undetectable” for at least four weeks after just one injection of antibodies.
How does this relate to current options in preventing HIV/AIDS?
There is also Truvada, a pill that can prevent infection. It is a pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, that if taken daily, can lower the chances of getting HIV from sex by over 90 per cent and from injecting drugs by over 70 per cent, according to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Hong Kong, the drug is offered through private clinics at a price of about HK$8,000 to HK$10,000 for one month’s supply, according to Aids Concern, an NGO. – South China Morning Post
What is the next step in testing? They will need to wait for clearance to test on larger animals than mice, but the hope is to extend the effectiveness of the drug from a week to "weeks or even months.”
The tests found that the drug was effective against 124 strains of HIV, including those that are commonly found in infected people from Hong Kong and mainland China.
According to government figures, 9,091 people in Hong Kong were diagnosed with HIV between 1984 – when the first case was reported – and last year. About 681 new cases were reported to the Centre for Health Protection last year. The cost of antiretroviral drugs for those in the city infected with the virus comes up to over HK$550 million a year, according to a press release issued by HKU on Thursday. – South China Morning Post
We hope their work is true and correct.