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Monthly HIV jab could soon become a reality

17 August 2018 07:21

People living with HIV could be offered a long-lasting injection that controls the virus

People living with HIV could be offered a long-lasting injection that controls the virus

People living with HIV could be offered a long-lasting injection that controls the virus and protects patients from developing AIDS.

Results from the Phase III trial of the jab suggest that the monthly injection is as effective as the daily cocktail of pills that most people with HIV currently take.

The pivotal Phase III trial is the final testing hurdle before a new drug can be licenced.

Replacing the daily pills with a single injection is expected to improve compliance, ensure patients get the medication they need, and reduce the spread of the virus.


Currently most people with HIV take a combination of three or more pills each day to prevent the virus replicating and triggering full-blown AIDS.

The new jab contains two anti-retroviral drugs and at present it has to be administered by a nurse or doctor, though future versions could be self-injected.

The ATLAS trial involved 618 patients from 13 countries who were given a three-pill standard treatment before switching to the monthly injection.

Newly-announced headline results show the trial met its primary "endpoint", or goal, by demonstrating that the jab matched the standard treatment for effectiveness over a period of 48 weeks.

Dr John Pottage, chief scientific and medical officer at ViiV Healthcare, the specialist pharmaceutical company running the trial, said: "This novel approach is another step towards potentially reducing the treatment burden for people living with HIV.

"The data from ATLAS suggest a long-acting injectable 2DR (two-drug regimen) of cabotegravir and rilpivirine may offer an alternative to daily, oral three-drug therapy for people who have previously achieved viral suppression.

"If approved, this regimen would give people living with HIV one month between each dose of anti-retroviral therapy, changing HIV treatment from 365 dosing days per year to just 12."

The news comes after high street pharmacy, Superdrug, announced that it is now stocking self-testing kits , significantly improving the accessibility of HIV testing.

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