Two-Drug HIV Therapy Given Every 2 Months Proves Effective in Phase III

An experimental HIV therapy being developed by GSK spinoff ViiV Healthcare in partnership with Janssen has proven it is as effective when given every two months as when given once a month. 

“For the first time since the AIDS epidemic started more than 30 years ago, our study has demonstrated that it is possible to maintain suppression of the HIV virus with an injectable regimen containing two drugs administered every two months,” stated Kimberly Smith, Head of Research & Development at ViiV Healthcare.

The treatment consists of two antiviral drugs in a formulation that releases them slowly over time. Cabotegravir, developed by ViiV Healthcare, interferes with the insertion of viral DNA into the DNA of human cells. Rilpivirine, developed by Janssen, blocks the protein that transforms the genetic material of the virus into DNA. 

The therapy had already been tested successfully as a monthly regimen and a decision on its approval is expected in December 2019. The results of a new phase III have revealed that the efficacy of the HIV therapy given every two months isn’t inferior to the monthly regimen, measured after 48 weeks of treatment. 

“The results mean that people living with HIV could maintain viral suppression with six total treatments per year, instead of a daily oral treatment 365 times per year,” said Smith. “Approval of this regimen would mark a significant change in the HIV treatment paradigm.”

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