Deal Reached for Generic Drug to Treat HIV Infection

HEALTHCARE

Unitaid and the Medicines Patent Pool announced that a deal has been reached to allow for the distribution of a low-cost generic version of a long-term preventive treatment against HIV in the low-income countries where most of the infections in the world occur.

The deal will also see ViiV Healthcare, a subsidiary of British pharmaceutical company GSK, allow the selected manufacturers to produce generic versions of Cabotegravir LA, which is a long-acting pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment for HIV.

Unitaid said this deal will provide access to the injectable version of cabotegravir, that provide protection against HIV infection for two months in 90 countries, where over 70 percent of new HIV infections occurred in 2020.

Herve Verhoosel, spokesman of Unitaid, said access to an effective long-term option of HIV prevention can possibly contribute to the goal of ending HIV transmission and ending the epidemic by 2030.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released new guidelines regarding cabotegravir, calling for countries to work towards making the drug available for those in need. Meg Doherty, director of the global HIV, hepatitis, and sexually-transmitted infection programs of WHO, said they are hoping that these new guidelines will possibly help in accelerating country’s efforts to start planning and delivering CAB-LA along with other options to prevent HIV infection.

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