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HIV prevention shot: Experimental drug shows big promise

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HIV prevention shot shows big promise in study. Macaques were studied to perform research on an intravenous shot for humans. According to Scientific American on Mar. 4, the approach only requires a shot four times per year.

In a proof-of-concept study, researchers have shown that an antiviral drug injected into the muscle protects monkeys from infection for weeks afterward.

This HIV prevention shot is intended to ward off infection in humans. It could be very beneficial when used on high-risk populations including intravenous-drug users, men who engage in sex with other men and sub-Saharan Africans.

The HIV prevention shot researchers studied was an experimental drug known as GSK744. Half of the macaques received GSK744 injections and half did not. All of the monkeys were squirted in their rectums with a hybrid of human and simian AIDS-causing viruses for eight weeks during the study. The half that got the GSK744 were protected, the others were all infected at the end of the study.

A single dose of GSK744 seemed to protect the monkeys for 5 to 10 weeks on average. Humans metabolize GSK744 more slowly and could theoretically protected for 3 months at a time. This would only require receiving the injections for times per year.

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