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HIV Prevention Shot Shows Promise

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[ Science]

An experimental drug to prevent HIV has been showing a lot of promise, according to researchers. At the AIDS conference on Tuesday, AIDS expert Dr. Robert Grant from the Gladstone Institute said that the drug has been tested on two groups of monkeys and studies show that it has protected them from getting the infection.

If the drug proves to be safe, it will allow prevention of HIV when injected every three months. This may be a solution to the pills that must be taken daily to lower the risk of getting HIV. One of the available drugs today is Truvada – a pill that is shown to reduce the risk of getting HIV by as much as 90%.

The new study is done on a long-acting drug that is being tested on macaques that were exposed to the human-monkey version of HIV twice for 11 weeks. Of the dozen monkeys, six were given the experimental drug, while the other six were given dummy shots. The results showed the six monkeys who were given the drug remained protected from the virus, while the other six were infected with HIV.

In another study, eight monkeys were given the experimental drug four weeks apart, and another eight monkeys were given dummy shots. All the monkeys were then exposed to the virus once a week for the duration of eight weeks. Just like the previous study, monkeys who were given the drug were protected and those who got dummy shots were infected.

A study was also conducted to see how long a single shot of the experimental drug would last. Results indicated that on average, a shot of the drug protected a dozen monkeys for 10 weeks. The dosage used was paralleled to the dosage that would be given to humans every three months.

The results of the studies showed real promise and according to infectious disease specialist from the University of California, Dr. Judith Currier, the research will be moving forward into testing the drug on humans.

More about HIV and Flu vaccines

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HIV Prevention Shot Shows Promise
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