Cone Health Part of Long-Lasting HIV Prevention Trial
Part of the study was conducted at the Cone Health Regional Center for Infectious Disease.
While not a vaccine, a long-acting medication given every two months provided high-level protection against HIV in high-risk populations. (Men who have sex with men and transgender women.) Long-acting injections of cabotegravir proved not only to be just as good as the highly effective daily oral HIV prevention medication Truvada, the drug showed a trend towards superiority.
“This is really one of the most impactful studies we have participated in and an absolute game changer in the field of HIV prevention” says Dr. Kees Van Dam, site leader, Cone Health Regional Center for Infectious Disease. “With a shot, you don’t have to worry about remembering to take a pill every day or running out of pills. This is a major step in one day eliminating HIV.”
Approximately 4,600 participants across more than 40 sites in North and South America, Asia, and Africa took part in the study. Fifty-eight participants were enrolled at Cone Health. Two-thirds of the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) study participants were under 30 years of age, and 12% were transgender women. Half of the participants in the United States identified as black or African American.
Every year, 1.7 million people are newly diagnosed with HIV. “To lower that number, we believe more prevention options are needed in addition to currently available oral tablets for daily use. If approved, a new injectable agent, such as long-acting cabotegravir administered every two months, could play an important role in reducing HIV transmission and helping to end the HIV epidemic,” says Dr. Myron S. Cohen, co-principal investigator of the HPTN and the Yeargan-Bate Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology and Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
ViiV Healthcare, a study sponsor, plans to submit cabotegravir for FDA approval as a treatment for the prevention of HIV.