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Long-Acting HIV Drug Shows Promise

Regular injections of an antiretroviral drug protects macaques from simian-human immunodeficiency virus infection, researchers report.

By | March 6, 2014

WIKIMEDIA, NIHFormulated as a long-acting injectable and given every three months, the integrase strand-transfer inhibitor GSK744 protected macaques from simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV), researchers from Rockefeller University, GlaxoSmithKline, and the Tulane National Primate Research Center reported in Science this week (March 4). Separately, a team from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studying the effects of GSK744 in female monkeys reached a similar conclusion. Both groups presented their results at the CDC’s annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections held in Boston this week.

“If the findings can be replicated in humans, they have the potential to overcome a major problem in AIDS prevention: that many people fail to take their antiretroviral pills regularly,” The New York Times reported.

Efforts to develop an HIV vaccine continue, but the team behind the Science study said a long-acting injectable drug could improve upon current treatments. Still, compliance may still be a problem, Philip Johnson of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania told ScienceNow. “This is going to require multiple injections over the lifetime of an individual,” he said, asking: “How feasible is it truly in the long term?”

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