A new combination of HIV pills may treat the disease in a shot than taking pills regularly. A new drug being developed by the ViiV Healthcare and Johnson & Johnson has the potential to treat HIV with a shot once a month or two months.
A drug combination made of cabotegravir and rilpivirine has suppressed HIV when taken every four or eight weeks in an injectable form. The cabotegravir drug is owned between the ViiV Healthcare, a joint venture by pharma companies GSK, Pfizer Inc., and Shionogi & Co. Both ViiV Healthcare and Johnson & Johnson is planning to develop the drug in both pill and injection form.
‘Taking the cabotegravir and rilpivirine drug in injection form for every four or eight weeks had comparable HIV viral suppression rates to those taking the drug orally.’
The Phase II clinical trial of the drug was done by these companies in a 96-week study. Patients in the trial who were taking the cabotegravir and rilpivirine injection every four or eight weeks showed better positive results when compared to the patients put on an oral regimen of the drug.
The only problem faced by the patients who took the injection every four weeks was the pain on the injected site than those who took it every eight weeks or had the oral treatment.
Millions of people around the world are suffering from HIV/AIDS and they are being prescribed with pills that has to be taken orally every day. This new drug may help in treating the disease with just a shot than consuming pills routinely.
The new treatment is expected to reach the market in five years. Though it is promising, it still has certain problems. Researchers are still looking at the efficacy of using the injectable form and also storing the injection in a cool place is a hurdle. Moreover, patients cannot take this injection without the help of a physician.