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New hope for defeating “AIDS” .. cheap copies of a preventive drug against the virus

The agreement includes a voluntary license by GSK – so that intellectual property does not get in the way of the agreement – to the United Nations-backed health care organization, the Medicines Patent Consortium.

The consortium then offers manufacturers the opportunity to apply to make injectable versions of capotegravir for the 90 countries that account for 70 percent of all new HIV infections in 2020.

GSK’s drug is the first non-tablet option that offers up to two months of infection protection via a one-time intramuscular injection, and studies show it’s even superior to the effectiveness of oral tablets.

The drug won US approval late last year, and the World Health Organization endorsed its use on Thursday to help accelerate efforts to make injectable capotegravir part of the global arsenal of HIV prevention.

Activists called for the drug to be made available as quickly and cheaply as possible, fearing a repeat of what happened in the 1990s and early 2000s, when poor countries were unable to afford HIV treatment for years.

It is likely that the first copies will only become available in 2026, said Deborah Waterhouse, head of HIV at GSK.

The cost of a six-dose treatment program for caputgravir is $22,000 per year in the United States.

After these studies are completed, Waterhouse added, the annual course of caputgravir injections will cost governments “hundreds of dollars” per person, rather than thousands.

She noted that this price includes the costs of components, labor and electricity and “is not profitable at all.”

However, Matthew Kavanagh, deputy executive director of UNAIDS, said that if the “non-profit” price was hundreds of dollars a year, it was unlikely that governments from poor countries and health funding bodies like the Global Fund could afford it.

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But he added that if it was less than $100 and closer to $60, it could change that.

It is worth noting that annually about 1.5 million new HIV infections are recorded worldwide, most of them in countries with limited resources.

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