China: New weekly injectable HIV drug is in the pipeline
A new weekly injectable HIV drug has proved effective in clinical trials in Beijing.
If approved by the China Food and Drug Administration, Albuvirtide could be the first long-acting HIV drug to hit the market, making China a world leader in HIV drug research and development.
The drug is a new fusion inhibitor, or antiretroviral drug, and has the potential to reduce the viral load in the blood of an HIV-positive individual, and lower the risk of transmission.
Experts from the administration visited Beijing You An Hospital and Capital Medical University on Wednesday to check the results of the clinical trials.
Dr. Xie Dong, head of the Albuvirtide's R&D team, says the interim results show that the drug in combination is safe, effective, and practical.
He said the new drug is a big improvement on standard triple-drug therapies, in that it only requires patients to receive a weekly injection along with an orally taken protease inhibitor.
At 48 weeks, 80.4% of the albuvirtide group had viral loads below 50 copies/ml, compared to 66% of those in the triple-drug group.
So far, clinical trials have been conducted in 12 cities in China.