New studies conducted on monkeys show that an antiretroviral injection called GSK744 could provide protection against HIV infection in humans. Two separate studies found that monkeys who received monthly injections of the experimental drug were 100% protected from simian HIV. If the results can be replicated in humans, the drug may prove a major breakthrough in preventing the spread of AIDS.

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Since 2010, research has shown that healthy people who undergo daily antiretroviral therapy can reduce their risks of infection by up to 90 percent. Clinical trials, however, have shown high failure rates due to people who don’t take their antiretroviral pills on a daily basis. This new slow-releasing drug, however, could overcome that major obstacle and would only need to be injected into the arm every one to three months.

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In the monkey studies, researchers injected primates with the GSK744 drug once a month before exposing them to the deadly human-simian immunodeficiency virus. None of the monkeys who received GSK744 were infected. According to Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, Director of the International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, preliminary studies on the effectiveness of the drug on humans is expected to start later this year, though it may take years before larger trials are carried out.

Via NY Times

Image via Wikimedia

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