A top Kenyan Scientist, based in the US has developed the world’s first anti-retroviral drug which will be taken only one a year.
Professor Benson Edagwa and his team at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, modified an existing ARV drug used for the treatment of HIV, called cabotegravir, to enable the body tissues to absorb it slowly over a period of 12 months.
“This occurs for extended time periods, and in laboratory and animal testing, up to a year,” said Prof Edagwa,
This new drug will be given as an injection only once a year.
This will mean that HIV-positive people, will not need to take drugs daily, as is currently the case.
It might also act as a prophylactic for healthy people who take it and have unprotected se_x but it is not a cure for HIV/AIDS.
Prof Edagwa, co-developed the new formulation with Prof Howard Gendelman, a virologist and chairman of the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience at UNMC.
Edagwa is an assistant professor in the department.
The drug has been tested on mice and non-human primates so far and found to be effective. No adverse side effects were demonstrated to date.
It hasn’t been tested on humans yet, but there are ongoing developments leading to trials on humans.
The University is now working towards meeting all the requirements needed by the US Food and Drug Administration, for the drug to be approved and enter the market.
According to a leading HIV researcher, Peter Cherutich if could take 3 to 5 years before the drug hits the market.
It has to be tested on humans and show that it can achieve durable viral suppression for a year and supply chains have to be established as well.
This could mean drastically reducing costs and less worry about adherence in HIV positive people.