Monday , November 23 2020

Patients with HIV may change their daily oral treatment by monthly intramuscular injection


Photo: News24 / Archive

(Caracas, March 17, Europe Press) .-the HIV patients will be able to change their usual antiretroviral treatment every day by intramuscular injection every month.. The arrival of this new approach could take place "in one year or half a year" when approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), according to the head of the Hospital's Infectious Unit. University of La Paz, José Ramón Arribas.

The expert attended last Friday's presentation of the "SI INDIVIDUALITY" symposium organized by the drug company Janssen in Madrid, where more than 250 experts will meet to analyze recent advances in basic research and clinical research in HIV / AIDS. presented a week ago at the world's reference meeting in this area, the conference on retroviruses and opportunistic infections (CROI).

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Among the news known during this appointment, two trials have shown that an intramuscular injection of two drugs that It is used monthly, is as effective in controlling viral load on HIV than most modern antiretroviral treatments.which is administered daily through a pill.

The two trials have already been presented to the European Regulatory Agency and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so that they could once make a decision they could be on the market in the near future.

"These delayed release drugs represent a new approach in the first new generation of antiretrovirals, with less toxicity. In the next generation, it is even possible that the injection may be every other, four or six months, but it is around the corner every month, "noted Arribas.

The head of the HIV / AIDS unit in Barcelona, ​​Josep Mallolas Hospital Clinic, has estimated that it will be a "good tool" for patients with HIV, but "not for everyone because of their clinical situation". "For a large percentage of patients will be a big improvement because they do not want to take tablets every day," he said, noting that choosing it or not depends on the patient's opinion.


On the other hand Mallolas has assessed the current situation in the fight against HIV. "We have two news: The good is the effectiveness of antiretroviralswhich has a high tolerance and produces an undetectable viral load, that is, the virus can no longer be transmitted, "he initially said.

However, he regretted that, despite this and other advances, it is not possible to reduce the number of new infections per year, which is around 3,000 in Spain. "The numbers are similar to those 10 years ago. We do nothing right," he complained. In this regard, Arribas added that up to 25 percent of those infected in our country do not know that it is.

"It is not easy to diagnose them because the entire population needs to be tested. There are preventative measures, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), that it has not been implemented in Spain, but that it has performed well in Australia or Canada to reduce the new diagnoses. Spain is delayed in this aspect, "criticized the researcher at La Paz hospital.


Arribas has pointed to another pending need to fight HIV: a vaccine. In his opinion, it is "difficult" to control the current epidemic without this approach. "We do not have an effective vaccine, although there is a lot of research into this. It would be a key element to dominate the epidemic worldwide. We have been trying to achieve this for many years, and it continues to be our major scientific challenge. "he added.

The experts have also performed another pending task, even though it is even more distant, the ability to "cure" HIV.. In this regard, the presentation of the symposium also involved Javier Martínez-Picado, research professor at the Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) in Irsi Caixa and member of the research team who achieved the virus's remission for six months without antiretroviral treatment.

The patient born in London underwent a stem cell transplant for the treatment of a lymphoma. The donor had a mutation (CCR5delta32) that prevents HIV from infecting the cells with the virus. In 16 months, doctors decided to stop antiretroviral treatment, and now, 18 months later, HIV is still not in their body.

This same approach, which requires the patient with HIV also has a haematological problem (such as a lymphoma), is also taking place in several countries in Europe and three patients from Andalusia, Catalonia and Madrid. as Martinez-Picado has announced. "However, it is important to note that there have been cases where the virus has taken up to nine months to jump after treatment interruption, so we need to be very careful," he said.

According to the specialist, the scientific challenge is "healing". "For this we need new therapeutic targets that can maximally reduce the sites where the virus" hides "when it disappears from the organism. We need to find molecules that" wake up "the virus so that the immune system can destroy them," he concluded.

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