And women need easy access to recordings every eight weeks, which must be done by a doctor. During the clinical trial, due to restrictions put in place during the pandemic, there was “a mess to ensure these women can continue to get their injections on time,” said Dr. Smith of ViiV Healthcare. The study researchers sent transports for the women and managed to hold 98 percent of the participants, she said.
The randomized, double-blind clinical trial was conducted by the HIV Prevention Trials Network, an international collaboration funded by the National Institutes of Health. The study compared the injected drug cabotegravir with Truvada in 3,223 participants in 20 locations in seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Of the women who received Truvada, 34 became infected with HIV during the study, compared with only four of the women who received the injections. Two of these four women had stopped injections, said Dr. Smith.
After an interim analysis found the long-acting injection was 89 percent more effective than Truvada, an independent data security watchdog recommended that the study be stopped early.
“I am very excited about the results of this study and I must admit that I have been waiting for these results,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an HIV expert at the University of California at San Francisco who did not attend the trial.
The drug doesn’t need refrigeration, so mobile clinics and community centers can offer it to women or bundle it with injectable contraception, said Dr. Gandhi.
In a previous study, the drug was tested in nearly 4,600 cisgender men and transgender women who have sex with men, and it was found to be 66 percent more effective than Truvada in that population. This process was supposed to continue until 2022, but was discontinued in May for similar reasons.