Problems Detected in Promising New PrEP Drug Cabotegravir

New PrEP Drug Cabotegravir

It’s been a year since the medical community celebrated the introduction of new PrEP drug Cabotegravir. But a new analysis shows that the once-promising pre-exposure prophylaxis drug is not so perfect. According to a news release on Tuesday, March 9th, researchers revisited a 4,750-person clinical trial of the medicine.  

They examined blood samples collected during the study and discovered that four people contracted HIV despite receiving the medication. The researchers also found that the infected persons had the virus almost a month before the standard HIV tests detected the virus. 

During that time, the four clinical trial patients developed resistance to new PrEP drug Cabotegravir and other closely related therapies for treating HIV infections. The research team believes that Cabotegravir suppressed the virus enough to keep the HIV tests from detecting it in the early stages.

This news comes as other PrEP drugs are entering clinical trial stages. Raphael Landovitz, an HIV researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, presented the new Cabotegravir findings at the Conference of Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. 

Lanovitz suggested that scientists leading PrEP drug studies should monitor participants with more sensitive tests to avoid a similar future situation. He noted that he and other scientists believe that pre-exposure prophylaxis remains the most hopeful means of curbing the virus despite this result.

Quarraisha Abdool Karim, a researcher at the Center for AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa, said that despite the Cabotegravir news, PrEP remains a powerful tool. Although she was not involved in the trial, she is part of the network of those developing HIV therapies. 

Karim noted that when people are on PrEP, researchers need to up the game when performing tests. The only downside to the preceding is that it would cost more. 

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