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“Breakthrough in HIV Prevention: Twice-Yearly Injection Shows 100% Efficacy In Clinical Study”

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“Breakthrough in HIV Prevention: Twice-Yearly Injection Shows 100% Efficacy In Clinical Study”

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Catherine Murombedzi
Health Correspondent

On 2 July, the cross border science cafe got rare exciting news. Results from a large randomized clinical trial in South Africa and Uganda showed that a twice-yearly injection of a new antiviral drug gave adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) and women total protection from the virus.The randomized controlled trial, called Purpose 1, was stopped early due to its efficacy success.
Informing journalists Mitchell Warren, AVAC’s executive director. said this was one of the most important results in the prevention matrix.
“This is one of the most important results we’ve seen to date in an HIV prevention study,” said Warren.
“Adding additional HIV prevention options means more people may find an option that is right for them. Beyond expanded choice, a twice-yearly injection has the potential to transform the way we deliver HIV prevention to people who need and want it most – from an easier to follow regimen for individuals to a decreased burden on healthcare systems that are stretched to the limit.
“The HIV prevention injection, containing the drug lenacapavir, has been shown to be safe and effective in a trial of over 5,300 participants.
“The injection, given every six months, was found to be 100% effective in preventing HIV infection.The trial was stopped early due to the significant results, and all participants were offered the injection,” he added.
The results of the trial have been hailed as ‘unprecedented and incredible’ and ‘one of the most significant results we have seen in HIV prevention history.’ The injection is expected to be available in countries that account for most of the global disease burden, with Gilead, the manufacturer, prioritizing speed and access in these countries. The price of the injection is currently high, at around $40,000 per year, but Gilead has indicated that it will license generic manufacturers to produce the drug, which will lead to significant price reductions.
Meanwhile, a companion trial,
PURPOSE 2 is underway in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, South Africa,
Thailand and the US, testing twice yearly, lenacapavir for PrEP among cisgender men who have sex with men, transgender
women, transgender men, and gender non-binary people, Results from PURPOSE 2 are expected by early 2025. additional studies in critical populations, including
PURPOSE 3 among cisgender women in the US and PURPOSE 4 among people who use injection drugs are also underway.
With 17 000 new HIV infections in Zimbabwe in 2023, prevention choice remains pivotal to zero new infections.

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