News Feature | March 6, 2014

HIV Prevention Treatment Has Major Potential

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By Marcus Johnson

New research at the Gladstone Institutes is focused on improving HIV prevention. The Gladstone Institutes are associated with the University of California, San Francisco. The new research studies an experimental drug manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. The experimental drug is a shot that only has to be administered every one to three months. Currently, HIV prevention treatments are pills that have to be taken daily.

So far, the experimental GlaxoSmithKline drug has only been used on monkeys. In two studies presented at an AIDS conference, the monkeys given the experimental drug were completely protected from HIV infection. Dr. Robert Grant, who was involved with the research, claimed that both groups of monkeys tested showed “100% protection.”

“This is the most exciting innovation in the field of HIV prevention that I've heard recently," said Dr. Grant. “If it works and proves to be safe, it would allow for HIV to be prevented with periodic injections, perhaps every three months.”

Dr. Grant also claimed that the experimental drug is similar in its chemical structure to other AIDs medicines that are currently used on the market that are “extremely safe and well tolerated.” That indicates that the drug has promise as a treatment for humans, although it has yet to be tested on a human population.

Dr. Judith Currier, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that the research was “promising” and that it “supports moving forward” with human testing.