New HIV Drugs: Who needs them?
On the first day of the European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS) Congress in Basel Professor Chloe Orkin of the British HIV Association (BHIVA) provided the delegates with an exciting update on the latest drugs and treatment methods in development.
Professor Orkin walked the delegates through some of the upcoming new classes of HIV drugs - including attachment inhibitors (which prevent the virus attaching to CD4 cells), entry inhibitors (which prevent entry to the CD4 cell) and maturation inhibitors (which interfere with the lifecycle of the virus).
One of the most exciting areas of research continues to be long-lasting agents (LLAs) which can be delivered in a number of ways - including injections, implants and dermal patches. There are several trials and studies into the best drug and method for LLAs, with focus on new drugs such as cabotegravir as well as reformulation of existing drugs like atazanavir.
One of the most anticipated new drugs is fostemsavir, an entry inhibitor, which is targeted specifically at Heavily Treatment Experienced (HTE) individuals - these are people who have a complex treatment history and may have multiple class resistances.
Another exciting avenue of investigation is whether we can combine HIV treatment implants with other common implants, such as the contraceptive implant for women, this means the patient would only need one procedure and has the added possible benefit of reducing overall cost.
We heard more about the expansion of trials and studies into Broadly Neutralising Antibodies (bNAbs) - which we covered yesterday. You can read more about bNAbs in our article here.
Professor Orkin said that these treatments were the most exciting for those who are not well catered for with existing treatment options. These people include, but are not limited to:
- People who struggle to take oral medication
- People who struggle with adherence
- People with mental health issues
- People who are homeless
- People who are heavily treatment experienced
- People who have been excluded from studies & trials so far, including women, girls and transgender people.
It's clear that HIV research and development hasn't slowed down and there are certainly some exciting treatment options on the horizon.