An agreement has been reached to allow distribution of a low-cost generic version of a long-term HIV preventive treatment in low-income countries where the world’s most infections occur, Unitaid and the Medicines Patent Pool announced Thursday.
Through the deal, ViiV Healthcare, a subsidiary of British pharmaceutical giant GSK, will enable selected manufacturers to produce generic versions of Cabotegravir LA, the long-acting pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment for HIV.
The deal gives access to the injectable version of Cabotegravir, which has been shown to provide two months of protection against infection, in 90 countries where more than 70 percent of all new HIV infections occurred 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 spokesperson Herve Verhoosel.
“Efforts to increase access to Cabotegravir LA for PrEP will particularly affect groups experiencing particularly high infection rates, such as men who have sex with men and sex workers,” he added.
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.
About 1.5 million new infections occurred last year – more than a million more than global targets for fighting the virus.
Long-term Cabotegravir injections only recently became available and were found to be much more effective than an oral version that had to be taken daily.
But the cost — the price of an annual treatment cost $22,000 in the United States earlier this year — posed an obstacle to widespread rollout in all countries except high-income earners.
Unitaid is a global health initiative that promotes equal access to medical innovations in low- and middle-income countries.
The Medicines Patent Pool, founded by Unitaid and supported by the UN, is working on licensing medicines needed for generic distribution in low- and middle-income countries.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DailyExpertNews staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)