Pharmaceutical company ViiV Healthcare has announced that its long-lasting, injectable drug, cabotegravir, is more effective than Truvada, Gilead Sciences' daily oral tablets, at preventing HIV.
Until now, Truvada has been seen as the frontline measure after condoms to prevent HIV. With the results from the most recent trial, however, this may change.
The results come from a randomized, multi-center, double-blind Phase IIb/III clinical trial. Participants included 4, 566 men and transgender women who have sex with men and were HIV-negative at the beginning of the study.
Among the 52 participants who acquired HIV throughout the trial, 13 were in the study group who received cabotegravir alongside placebo daily oral tablets, and 39 were in the group receiving daily oral Truvada with placebo injections.
Thus, while 1.22% of those in the Truvada group acquired HIV, just 0.41% of those in the cabotegravir group acquired the virus. As such, the researchers concluded that the injection, given once every two months, was 66% more effective at preventing HIV than Truvada.
"These data are truly ground-breaking, demonstrating that long-acting injectable cabotegravir dosed every two months is superior to daily oral FTC/TDF at preventing HIV in at-risk men and transgender women who have sex with men." says Kimberly Smith, head of research and development at ViiV Healthcare Research.
"This advancement has the potential to be a game-changer for HIV prevention, offering an option with very high rates of effectiveness and the convenience of reduced dosing from daily to just six times per year."
While nausea was more common among those taking FTC/TDF during the trial, the most common side effects for those on cabotegravir were injection site reactions, hypertension, and fever.
Cabotegravir is now being assessed for safety and efficacy for HIV prevention in over 3,000 sexually active women in several African countries.