Cheaper preventive treatment for low-income countries against HIVtext_fields
Geneva: To distribute a low-cost generic version of a long-term preventive treatment against HIV in low-income countries, a deal has been made. As per the deal, ViiV Healthcare, a subsidiary of British pharmaceutical giant GSK will allow selected manufacturers to make generic versions of Cabotegravir LA, ViiV's long-acting pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment.
The deal is made because low-income countries are where most of the global infections occur, Asian News International reported citing Unitaid and the Medicines Patent Pool's announcement on Thursday.
According to Unitaid, the injectable version of Cabotegravir was proved to provide two months of protection against HIV. The deal will provide it to 90 countries, where 70 per cent of global HIV infections happened in 2020.
Unitaid spokesperson Herve Verhoosel said that access to an effective long-acting HIV prevention option could significantly contribute to the goal of ending HIV transmission and ending the epidemic by 2030. The efforts to increase access to Cabotegravir LA for PrEP support impactful groups which experience high rates of infection, such as men who have sex with men and sex workers, Verhoosel said.
This announcement comes a day after a new report was submitted before International AIDS Conference in Montreal, Canada, which suggested that the global battle against HIV has dwindled due to declining resources after Covid-19 and other crises. Last year, around 1.5 million fresh cases of HIV infections were reported in last one year. This is more than global targets for fighting the virus.
The Cabotegravir injections became available only recently and have proved more effective than an oral version that needed to be taken daily. But the cost for the treatment was significantly high- one year expense is $22,000 in the United States.
Unitaid, a global health initiative, works to ensure low- and middle-income countries have equal access to medical innovations. The Medicines Patent Pool, founded by Unitaid and backed by the United Nations, works to licence needed medicines for generic distribution in low- and middle-income countries.