PrEP-ed

Scientists announce breakthrough in new PrEP drug that only needs to be taken every two months

Anyone who hates taking a pill a day, or has trouble remembering doing so, take heed. Pharmaceutical company GSK has announced the development of a new anti-HIV drug for prep which only requires one injected dose every two months.

PinkNews reports that GSK claims to have stopped early testing of the drug after it proved 69% more effective at preventing the transmission of HIV than oral PrEP. At present, patients take either a one-a-day oral dose of the drugs Truvada or Descovy.

The pharmaceutical company tested the new drug, cabotegravir, on 4,600 people in North and South America, Africa and Asia. The trial included gay and bisexual men as well as transgender women. 50 people in the study contracted HIV. Of those, 12 had tried the new injection while 38 took the daily pill.

Related: UK’s health service to offer PrEP nationwide

“These study results demonstrate that long-acting injectable cabotegravir dosed every two months can successfully reduce HIV acquisition in at-risk MSM and transgender women,” Kimberly Smith, head of research and development at HIV company ViiV Healthcare, said of the results. ViiV Healthcare is a subsidiary of GSK.

“We are thrilled with the results not only because of the high efficacy of cabotegravir but also because we have demonstrated high efficacy in a study that adequately represents some of the populations most disproportionately impacted by HIV — Black MSM in the US, young MSM globally and transgender women.”

Previous studies have found PrEP to be more than 99% effective at preventing HIV transmission–more effective than condoms–when taken correctly. Still, some patients report difficulty accessing or remembering to take a daily dose of Truvada or Descovy for HIV prevention.