By Tawonga Sesani
LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Researchers from the HIV Prevention Trials Network has announced that data from the clinical trial of the Pre-exposure prophylaxis(PrEP) regimen of long-acting cabotegravir (CAB LA) injections once every eight weeks was safe and superior to the daily oral tenofovir/emtricitabine currently used for HIV prevention among women.
The trial, known as the HPTN 084 was headed by Dr Sinead Delany-Moretlwe, a research professor at the university of the Witwatersrand,South Africa and director of research at the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute.
In Malawi the study was done in Lilongwe by UNC project and in Blantyre by the John Hopkins Research Project Lilongwe site they recruited 111participants while Blantyre site recruited 113 Participants.
The results of the study means that instead of taking a drug on daily basis to prevent contracting HIV, an injection can instead be given for eight weeks in preventing the virus.
A long-acting injectable formulation has the potential to improve the Prevention effect.
Participants in the trial had a very low HIV prevalence as only one percent of them became infected during the study showing the effectiveness of the injection.
“A long-acting PrEP product could offer a better choice for women at substantial HIV risk who either do not want to take or struggle with taking a daily tablet. However adhering to the daily dosing schedule is important.”reads the results.
The average age of study participants was 26 years and 57% of participants we’re 18-25 years old 82% of women were not living with partner who us reported two or more partners in the past month.
Scientific Director of UNC Project Malawi Professor Mina Hosseinipour, describe the findings as remarkable.
“I am thrilled that we have found CAB-LA so effectively reduces HIV acquisition and provides women more choices in how to protect themselves,”said prof Mina
She further explained that the cure is still some distance off but there’s still hope but they still have some ways to go.
The HPTN 084 protocol team believes that the injection will be made available at an affordable price once Malawi adopts it.
It was conducted in 20 sited in seven countries in Sub-Saharan Africa namely Malawi, Botswana, Eswatini,, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
The product has also been found effective among men who have sex with their fellow men.