EU regulator greenlights first injectable HIV drug

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
iStock
iStock
  • The injectable drug will be a cocktail of two antiretroviral drugs.
  • It will be given every few months instead of a daily pill.
  • Around 38 million in the world were living with HIV in 2019.


The EU's medicines regulator on Friday gave the green light for the first injectable treatment for the HIV virus that causes AIDS, which could change the lives of millions of people.

The cocktail of two antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, rilpivirine and cabotegravir, can be given every few months instead of a daily pill to keep HIV infection under control.

"The two medicines are the first ARVs that come in a long-acting injectable formulation," the European Medicines Agency said in a statement.

"This means that instead of daily pills, patients receive intramuscular injections monthly or every two months," the Amsterdam-based agency said.

The EMA's recommendation for marketing authorisation must now be approved by the European Commission before it can be prescribed across the 27-nation bloc.

The injectable version of the drugs could be transformative for people with HIV.

ALSO READ | EU regulator backs dexamethasone as Covid-19 treatment

People who forget to take their daily, lifelong doses of HIV medication run the risk of the virus rebounding to make them ill.

They can also develop resistance to the drugs they are using - which would require a more expensive replacement.

The new cocktail of rilpivirine and cabotegravir - branded as Rekambys and Vocabria - work together "to block the ability of the virus to replicate," the EMA said.

The agency said the injectable treatment is a "significant improvement... by reducing the burden associated with daily pill taking."

Around 38 million people around the world were living with HIV in 2019, according to World Health Organisation figures, with some 2.3 million people in Europe.

There is no cure for the HIV infection but ARV therapies can control the virus, help prevent transmission and allow patients to live longer.


Did you know you can comment on this article? Subscribe to News24 and add your voice to the conversation.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Will you continue to use WhatsApp following the company announcing a change terms of service which would force users to share personal data?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, the terms of service do not bother me enough to switch
53% - 9217 votes
No, I will be switching over to a new service
43% - 7507 votes
I've never used WhatsApp
4% - 696 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
14.98
(-0.76)
ZAR/GBP
20.55
(-1.09)
ZAR/EUR
18.20
(-0.99)
ZAR/AUD
11.61
(-0.62)
ZAR/JPY
0.14
(-0.75)
Gold
1862.30
(-0.36)
Silver
25.71
(-0.40)
Platinum
1116.00
(+1.36)
Brent Crude
55.55
(+0.23)
Palladium
2373.00
(-0.04)
All Share
64174.88
(+0.10)
Top 40
58969.37
(+0.19)
Financial 15
11940.13
(-0.48)
Industrial 25
85543.15
(-0.10)
Resource 10
63550.90
(+0.71)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo