During the X World Scientific Conference on HIV (IAS 2019), in Mexico City, specialists assured that these new tools will come to reinforce the strategies that have been used so far in order to avoid contagion for this virus. According to Brenda Crabtree, local scientific president of this summit, the implant is one of the most important developments. “Its use will be for PrEP, so that the population has more adherence to treatment than those who take a pill,” he said.
Randolph P. Matthews, principal scientist of the company that is developing this implant, presented the results that proved the effectiveness in humans. In addition, he explained that the investigation involved 16 healthy adults, 12 of them carrying the implant over 12 weeks, some of them receiving doses of 54 mg and 62 mg of a medicine called islatravir, and in parallel another group of four people had placebo implants The study revealed that the implant was well tolerated and that the doses placed within it could last at least eight months with the lowest dose and one year in the highest concentration. “It was determined that its use is safe and the duration of the implant intervention is one year,” Crabtree said.
Another of the innovations in the treatment is the vaccine, which will begin a new phase in September, after having been successfully tested in a very small group of women in South Africa. Hanneke Schuitemaker, global head of viral vaccines, said that although there are currently prevention methods such as PrEP, condoms and safe sexual practices, “the vaccine joins them to protect people, and that will make a big difference.” The specialist said that together with other health institutions are working in a study called Mosaic, where 3,800 people from America and Europe will participate, all of them healthy. The vaccine will have combinations of the virus, in order to produce antibodies that act against it and be effective for various strains. “We know of other vaccines that could not work because the HIV virus is very complex and there are many variables circulating, so we cannot predict that there will be protection against all those variables,” said the specialist.
However, he said that the results of the study that in South Africa, called Approach, could be ready in 2021, while those of the Mosaic result would be available in 2023, so that in four years an HIV vaccine could be available. “We will work very hard to ensure that it works and that all people have access to the vaccine,” said the expert.