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Anti-HIV drug PrEP has 30% lower concentration levels in pregnant African adolescents and young women

Photo by Tony Webster

Pregnant African adolescents and young women who took the HIV drug PrEP were found to have 30% lower levels of the drug in their system than others when taking it regularly.

Prep is an anti-HIV drug that requires the patient to take regular oral tablets. It is shown to reduce the risk of sexual HIV acquisition by more than 90% in men and women when taken daily. Women must take it more regular to get drug concentration protective levels in the female genital tract.

HIV infections fall by 73% in bi and gay British men

Public Health England has released figures that show that HIV rates in bi and gay men have fallen by 73% since 2014 in the UK.

This has largely been attributed to the rise in the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (Prep). It is a pill that is taken daily, or prior to sex, to prevent HIV infection. If taken consistently it protects cells in the body and disables the virus to stop it multiplying, so it won’t spread even if a condom isn’t used during sex.

Gilead challenges Government over patents on preventative HIV drug Truvada

Gilead is challenging the US Government’s patents on PrEP drug Truvada.

The Foster City firm has submitted a challenge to the US Patents and Trademark Office (PTO) over the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) patent on preventative HIV drug Truvada.

In a statement from August 21, Gilead said: “We strongly believe that the patents granted to HHS since 2015 for PrEP and PEP are not valid.”

Gilead's PrEP drug Descovy should be approved for men and transgender women but not cis-gender women, FDA advisory panel says

Independent experts on a panel advising the FDA have voted in favour of Gilead’s new PrEP drug Descovy in men and transgender women who have sex with men.

However the panel voted against expanding Descovy’s label to cover the drug as a preventative treatment for cis-gendered women.

Descovy which is a combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide, is currently approved as a treatment for chronic HIV.

California drugmaker Gilead are now seeking approval for the drug as a means of reducing the risk of contracting of HIV.

MSD trials long lasting PrEP implant for preventing HIV

MSD is trialling an implant that prevents patients from contracting HIV, The Guardian has said.

The US firm has tested a long duration pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) implant in 12 healthy adults over a period of 12 weeks.

In trialling the tolerability of the drug, patients were given implants containing either 54mg or 62mg doses of the drug islatravir.

Top Ten most popular articles on this week!

The top story of this week covered Novartis’ announcement that they did not send chemicals that could be used to make chemical weapons to Syria. The announcement came as a relief to shareholders as shares in chemical distributor Brenntag plummeted after it was found they had send chemical weapon precursors to the war torn country.  

Gilead CEO Daniel O'Day challenged over patents on PrEP drug Truvada

Image Credit: nrkbeta

On 16 May, Gilead CEO Daniel O’Day was grilled over the $1,780 price tag on PrEP drug Truvada in a US congressional hearing. At a cost of more than $21,000 a year, the preventative-HIV drug is 222 times more expensive in the US than it is in Australia, where it costs just $8.

Explaining the price discrepancy, O’Day said: “Truvada still has patent protection in the United States, and in the rest of the world it is generic. It will be generically available in the United States as of September 2020.”

Gilead will give 11 years’ worth of PrEP drugs to those at risk of HIV after 'discussions' with Trump

Gilead Sciences has agreed to donate 11 years’ worth PrEP drugs for up to 200,000 individuals each year, following “discussions between the Trump Administration” and the California firm.

Gilead Sciences will give preventative HIV drug Truvada to uninsured individuals who are at risk of being infected with HIV, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.

The agreement will last until at least the end of 2025 and may continue through to December 31 2030.

Gilead accused of ripping off US taxpayers

Gilead have been accused of ‘ripping off’ US taxpayers after the firm was revealed to have generated $3 billion in sales from preventative HIV drug Truvada, despite the fact it was developed  by the US government.

While the American government patented the PrEP drug in 2015, the government has not received a single penny in royalties from Foster City-based Gilead Sciences.

Nevertheless Gilead charge between $1,600 and $2,000 a month for Truvada. Meanwhile, generic versions of the drug are sold for as little as £20 for a month’s supply in the UK.

Those at risk of HIV to be offered PrEP drugs in England and Northern Ireland

Image Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Those at risk of contracting HIV will now be offered PrEP drugs in England and Northern Ireland through a programme launched by the HIV and sexual health charity the Terrence Higgins Trust.

The Terrence Higgins Trust is to launch the PrEP Access Fund this autumn which will offer vouchers for the antiviral drugs to 1000 people in England and Northern Ireland who cannot afford to buy PrEP themselves. The vouchers will support those on low or no income who are at risk of contracting HIV.

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