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HIV: announcement of an agreement to make preventive treatment more accessible | AIDS: on the trail of a pandemic

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The agreement, announced on the eve of the 24e International AIDS Conference in Montreal, relates to patents relating to cabotegravir, an injectable form of antiretroviral drug used as part of preventive treatment pre-exposure prophylaxis (or Prep) for HIV-negative people.

This medicine is produced by ViiV Healthcare, a pharmaceutical company majority owned by GSKwhich specializes in treatments and research around the HIV.

The voluntary license is a mechanism by which a laboratory gives access to some of its patents to producers of generic drugs.

Priority clienteles

The agreement will allow access to cabotegravir in least developed countries, low-income countries, lower-middle-income countries and countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Unitaid said in its press release.

Selected generic manufacturers will be able to produce and supply generic versions of this drug – recently authorized by US health authorities – in a total of 90 countries, most of them in Africa.

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More than 70% of new cases of HIV occurred in these countries in 2020. However, although options of Prep are available in many countries, problems of treatment follow-up and stigma have limited their impact in certain vulnerable populationsemphasizes Unitaid.

Under these conditions, cabotegravir represents a major step forward in the prevention of HIVas it can provide protection against the disease for two months with just one injectioncommented Hervé Verhoosel, spokesperson for Unitaid, quoted in the press release.

The annual cost of this treatment in the United States is $22,000 per person, the organization, which raises funds for the diseases, said in March.

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