Long-acting pre-exposure prophylaxis reduces risk of HIV-like infection in pre-clinical trials for 6 months

Written by: Jacqueline Mitchell Contact: Chloe Meck, cmeck@bilh.org

DECEMBER 07, 2021

Thirty-eight million people worldwide are currently living with HIV, and each year, another 1.5 million people become newly infected. With no vaccine to prevent infections, drugs that prevent HIV from replicating in the body – called antiretrovirals, or ARV – can prevent new HIV infections, a strategy known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. While PrEP – which if taken daily as directed can be up to 99 percent effective in preventing new HIV infections – is an important tool in combatting the on-going HIV pandemic, compliance can be low among those who may be at the highest risk. In 2020, one million people worldwide used PrEP medications to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV – far short of the World Health Organization’s goal of three million.

In a new study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and collaborators at Gilead Sciences demonstrated that a single shot of an antiretroviral capsid inhibitor provided long-term protection from repeated viral challenges in an animal model. The data suggest the investigatory antiretroviral could have potential as a novel HIV preventative strategy in humans.

“Real-world data confirmed a significant reduction in HIV-1 incidence in areas where PrEP uptake is high, but PrEP strategies are limited by adherence, which reduces real-world impact on HIV transmission,” said co-corresponding author Dan H. Barouch, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at BIDMC. “Long-acting PrEP agents may reduce barriers and increase use of these medications to prevent HIV.”

To learn more and to see a complete list of authors and disclosures, please see the full study published by Nature.

About Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School and consistently ranks as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health funding. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, a health care system that brings together academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, community and specialty hospitals, more than 4,800 physicians and 36,000 employees in a shared mission to expand access to great care and advance the science and practice of medicine through groundbreaking research and education.