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Agreement reached on generic medicines to prevent HIV infection

#Agreement #reached #generic #medicines #prevent #HIV #infection

An agreement has been reached to allow the distribution of a low-cost generic version of a long-term preventive treatment for HIV in low-income countries, where most infections occur worldwide, Unitaid and the Medicines Patent Pool announced on Thursday.

Under the terms of the agreement, ViiV Healthcare, a subsidiary of British pharmaceutical giant GSK, will allow select manufacturers to manufacture generic versions of cabotegravir LA, its long-acting pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment for HIV.

The deal will provide access to the injectable version of cabotegravir, which has been shown to provide protection against infection for two months, in 90 countries, which accounted for over 70 percent of all new HIV infections in 2020, Unitaid said.

“Access to an effective, long-acting HIV prevention option could significantly contribute to the goal of ending HIV transmission and the epidemic by 2030,” said Unitaid spokesman Herve Verhoosel.

“Efforts to increase access to cabotegravir LA for PrEP will be particularly impactful for groups that have particularly high rates of infection, such as men who have sex with men and sex workers,” he added.

Long-lasting cabotegravir injections have only recently become available and have proven to be much more effective than an oral version that needs to be taken daily.

But the cost — the price of a year’s treatment was $22,000 in the United States earlier this year — has been a barrier to widespread adoption in all but high-income countries.

– “Top Global Priority” –

The World Health Organization released new guidance on cabotegravir on Thursday, urging countries to work to quickly make the drug available to those in need.

“We hope these new guidelines will help accelerate countries’ efforts to plan for and implement CAB-LA alongside other HIV prevention options,” said Meg Doherty, director of the global HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted infection programs WHO, in a statement.

The news comes a day after a new report presented at the International AIDS Conference in Montreal, Canada, found that the global fight against HIV has stalled due to shrinking resources due to Covid-19 and other crises.

Around 1.5 million new infections occurred last year – more than a million above global targets for fighting the virus.

“Long-acting PrEP could play an important role in ending the HIV pandemic, but very few people can get it right now,” said Adeeba Kamarulzaman, president of the International AIDS Society, which is convening the conference.

“Expanding affordable access to this groundbreaking prevention tool must be a top priority around the world,” she said in a statement.

Unitaid is a global health initiative dedicated to equal access to medical innovation in low- and middle-income countries.

Founded by Unitaid and supported by the United Nations, the Medicines Patent Pool works to license needed medicines for generic distribution in low- and middle-income countries.

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#Agreement #reached #generic #medicines #prevent #HIV #infection

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