Is there any research into long-acting treatments?
I was wondering if there is any hope for a longer term medication. I mean a medication or an injection where you take it a few times a year – or even every few years – and not every day of your life?
I was wondering if there was any research like this already going on.
Also, how far away is a cure? What if someone is considering stem cells transplants like the one that cured the german man, what would be your advise and any recommendable country/practice for the procedure?
Thanks for your email.
There is already a lot of research looking at longer acting formulations of some HIV meds. This might mean taking a pill or injection once a month, or even less often.
For example, a month injection is currently in large scale international studies that are due to finish in 2019. The likely timeline for access to this injection – containing long-acting formulations of cabotegravir plus rilpivirine – is likely to be 2020.
An earlier study – called LATTE-2 – reported the injections were safe and effective for over two years. Most participants reported that the injections were easy to manage and they were preferred to pills. (These volunteers may have a bias to this preference, because they chose to join the study).
This 2017 pipeline report discusses these injections, and also EFdA, which might be available as an implant that could last for one year. The need to use combination therapy for treatment, means that the implant is mainly being developed tfor PrEP (ie to prevent infection.
There is also a lot of interesting research on finding an HIV cure. Unfortunately, this is also likely this will be many years ahead. This summary describes the challenge and the different research approaches.
Although the ‘Berlin patient’ case is very interesting, these procedures were very difficult and very risky. A stem cell transplant isn’t a simple procedure.
Many previous questions about an HIV cure are also answered online.
More than 60 technical articles in HIV Treatment Bulletin about cure research are online at this link. Updates to this list are regularly published.
Note: This answer was updated in January 2018 from an original post in January 2013.