HIV Prevention Shot May Replace Pills

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Two separate HIV studies on macaque monkeys show very promising results.

Researchers from Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center at Rockefeller University in New York presented their findings on Tuesday at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston, Mass.

They determined that a newly designed shot routinely taken four times a year could possibly protect people from the HIV virus.

One San Francisco doctor from Gladstone Institute, which is affiliated with the University of California, told the Associated Press that two studies were “showing 100 percent protection” from the virus.

"This is the most exciting innovation in the field of HIV prevention that I've heard recently," said Dr. Robert Grant. "If it works and proves to be safe, it would allow for HIV to be prevented with periodic injections, perhaps every three months."

The GSK1265744 drug was the experimental medicine used in the latest research study. The drug company GlaxoSmithKline makes the potent drug.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was the first to test the effectiveness of the new drug.

Two recent studies by the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center provided further validation.

In the first study, 16 monkeys were exposed to the virus once a week for eight weeks. Eight of the monkeys were given two treatments within that time frame, whereas the remaining was given a placebo shot. In a second study, six out of 12 monkeys were given the shot.

The end results for both experiments determined that those given GSK1265744 injections were protected from the virus for at least 5 to 10 weeks.

Watch The Doctors cover a segment on monkeys used as a cure for HIV virus:

Truvada, a HIV preventive pill already available to the public, may soon be replaced. Experts say that injections may prove to be a better option for people who are reluctant to taking pills.

According to Bloomberg:

"If successful, the injection may provide an alternative to Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD)’s Truvada pill, which won U.S. approval in 2012 to lower the chance of infection for people who don’t have the virus but are at risk of catching it."

Researchers from the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center have established that the next steps involve testing the shot on humans as a treatment first, and then as a preventive medication.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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