FDA Approves First-Ever Injectable Anti-HIV Drug That Prevents Individuals Contracting The Virus

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FDA Approves First-Ever Injectable Anti-HIV Drug That Prevents Individuals Contracting The Virus

The United States' Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the world's first long-acting HIV prevention drug that can be injected.


Known as Apretude, the drug can be taken every two months and prevents people from contracting HIV. At present, anti-HIV pills do exist, but they must be taken every day, as well as HIV prevention drugs that can be taken after an event that risked HIV being contracted. However, this must be taken as an emergency procedure only and taken within a short timeframe.


The studies that have been carried out on the new drug also showed that the injections were even more potent at preventing transmission of HIV when compared to daily medication in the form of pills.


Dr. Debra Birnkrant, the director of antivirals division at the FDA's Centre for Drug Evaluation and Research, told journalists:


"Today's approval adds an important tool in the effort to end the HIV epidemic by providing the first option to prevent HIV that does not involve taking a daily pill. This injection, given every two months, will be critical to addressing the HIV epidemic in the U.S., including helping high-risk individuals and certain groups where adherence to daily medication has been a major challenge or not a realistic option."


Deborah Waterhouse, the CEO of a company involved in the drug research and production, added:


"People who are vulnerable to acquiring HIV, especially those in Black and Latinx communities who are disproportionately impacted in the US, may want options beyond daily oral pills. Apretude was studied in one of the most diverse and comprehensive HIV prevention trial programs to date, which also included some of the largest numbers of transgender women and Black men who have sex with men ever enrolled in an HIV prevention trial."


It is now hoped that as more and more people are prescribed the drug that rates of HIV transmission will decline. HIV can be deadly if it becomes AIDS and has killed tens-of-millions of people across the world in the last few decades.


Kenyon Farrow, an HIV advocacy group campaigner is however worried that costs will not be shouldered properly by the healthcare system and that Covid may halt the widespread use of the drug. He said:


"Due to COVID, public health systems are already overburdened and much of the workforce needed to implement this large scale are leaving the field due to burnout. Because it will need to be administered in clinical settings, it won't be treated as a pharmacy benefit by payers, but instead as a clinical benefit, which will take time to implement the proper coding for billing, as well as education and training for nurses who will likely bear the brunt of the work to implement."


[Based on reporting by: NBC News]


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Thinking Humanity: FDA Approves First-Ever Injectable Anti-HIV Drug That Prevents Individuals Contracting The Virus
FDA Approves First-Ever Injectable Anti-HIV Drug That Prevents Individuals Contracting The Virus
The United States' Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the world's first long-acting HIV prevention drug that can be injected. Known as Apr
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