Zimbabwe is among several African countries where clinical trials for a long-lasting injectable anti-retroviral drug are to be conducted. The injectable drug for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis is called Cabotegravir and is being assessed for safety. The drug would be administered every two months and reduces an individual’s risk of acquiring HIV when they are exposed.
Zimbabwe alongside other Sub-Saharan countries with a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS; Kenya, Malawi, Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland have been selected for the large-scale trials. The trials are expected to run for 5 years. If the drug turns out to be safe and efficacious, Cabotegravir could become the drug of choice for use as PrEP, instead of the current Truvada, an oral pill that must be taken daily. Amanda Wanyama, a researcher with the International Aids Vaccine Initiatives, at the Uganda Virus Research Institute said
Besides issues of efficacy, we also want to know how the drug affects reproduction in women, and if there are cases of drug resistance. In the long run, if the injectable ARV works as well, it will be an option as PrEP… A long-lasting injectable PrEP, which can be administered every two months, can, therefore, help people who are unable to adhere to daily oral pills.