Researchers are putting an end to a study early after discovering that a shot of an experimental drug every two months has better results than daily pills to help to prevent women from contracting HIV from a sexual partner that carries the disease.
The news is fantastic for AIDS prevention efforts, particularly in Africa, where the study was carried and revealed that women have few discreet ways of protecting themselves from contracting the disease.
Current results suggest that the injectable drug cabotegravir is about 89% more efficient in doing its job than HIV prevention pills.
The drug is developed by ViiV Healthcare, which is mainly owned by GlaxoSmithKline, in association with Pfizer Inc and Shionogi Limited. The study was funded by the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in partnership with ViiV.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease doctor of the NIH, believes that the discovery is a breakthrough:
“I don’t think we can overemphasize the importance of this study.”
The drug will likely enhance HIV prevention for young women – “those who need it the most,” according to Fauci.
Research suggests that young women are twice as likely as men to contract HIV in particular areas of the world.
“They need discreet options… without having to negotiate with their partners” to use prevention means like condoms, according to Deborah Waterhouse of ViiV.
The study analyzed over 3,200 participants in seven African countries who were randomly selected to receive the shots every two months or Truvada pills each day.
Independent researchers suggested stopping the study after noting that only 0.21% of women receiving the shots caught the virus compared to the 1.79% of women who took prevention pills.
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