Words by GOLD newsdesk
The injectable HIV treatment cabotegravir is set to become more widely available in sub-Saharan Africa following a new licensing agreement between developer ViiV Healthcare and the United Nations-backed public health organisation Medicines Patent Pool.
The agreement will improve access to the treatment in the least developed, low-income and lower middle-income countries in the region by allowing local manufacturers to develop and supply generic versions of the drug.
“[This] announcement represents a potentially game-changing moment in HIV prevention,” said Deborah Waterhouse, CEO, ViiV Healthcare. “Enabling at-scale access to generic cabotegravir LA for PrEP could play a significant role in averting the transmission of HIV, particularly amongst women and adolescent girls and help end the HIV epidemic.”
Cabotegravir long-acting (LA) is an injectable form of pre-exposure prophylaxis, otherwise known as PrEP, which is the world’s first long-acting HIV prevention medicine. Research has found that PrEP reduces the risk of getting sexually-transmitted HIV by about 99% when taken as prescribed.
The new licensing deal is part of a long-standing partnership between ViiV Healthcare and Medicines Patent Pool, which is focused on facilitating the manufacture and sale of generic versions of the pharma company’s medicines in low- and middle-income countries.
There are as many as 1.5 million new cases of HIV worldwide every year, and increasing access to an effective long-acting prevention option has the potential to bring the healthcare community closer to its goal of ending the epidemic.