A prevention shot has been developed which may be able to provide protection against acquiring the HIV virus..
One injection every one to three months may be all that is necessary, and would provide an alternative to the daily pill regime.
So far, tests have only been undertaken on monkeys, but the results were considered positive and the drug provided complete protection from infection. These results were presented to an AIDS conference on Tuesday.
AIDS expert Dr. Robert Grant, from the Gladstone Institutes foundation (affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco), said:
“This is the most exciting innovation in the field of HIV prevention that I’ve heard recently.
Both groups are showing 100 percent protection” with the drug, If it works and proves to be safe, it would allow for HIV to be prevented with periodic injections, perhaps every three months.”
One of the drugs currently in use for the treatment of HIV, Truvada, was found some years ago to successfully cut the infection risk by up to 90 percent in gay men. The problem was that many did not take the drug every single day as prescribed
The idea of a prevention shot a few times a year was considered a better practical alternative, so researchers tried a new drug from GlaxoSmithKline PLC.
The experiment at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention involved giving six monkeys prevention shots of the drug every four weeks, while six others got dummy shots. All the monkeys were exposed to the virus twice a week for 11 weeks.
The head of the study group, Gerardo Garcia-Lerma, said that the monkeys receiving the drug remained protected but the others caught the virus.
A similar experiment was conducted at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Rockefeller University in New York. Again, all animals given the fake treatment were quickly infected and those receiving the prevention shot the were all protected.
Dr. Judith Currier from the University of California, Los Angeles, stated that they felt the research showed great promise and they could now move to testing the drug on humans.
Roberts Grant said the long-acting drug is “extremely safe, well tolerated and extremely potent.”
He added that they were now moving to use the drug not only for prevention, but also for treatment of HIV.