Merck Releases Early Clinical Trial Data On Experimental HIV Drug Administered As Arm Implant For Prevention

The Guardian: Trial of HIV prevention implant hailed as boost in fight against disease
“An implant containing an HIV prevention drug has been trialed in humans, in a step experts have hailed as an exciting development in curtailing infections…” (Davis, 7/23).

New York Times: Someday, an Arm Implant May Prevent HIV Infection for a Year
“…The new implant, by the drug company Merck, was tested in just a dozen subjects for 12 weeks. But experts were quite excited at its potential to revolutionize the long battle against HIV. The research was described on Tuesday at an international AIDS conference in Mexico City…” (McNeil, 7/23).

STAT: Merck unveils early data on HIV drug it says could be ‘a game changer’
“…One of the benefits of [Merck’s experimental drug MK-8591, also called islatravir,] is that it builds up in the body, and it could be given as an implant that might only need to be replaced once a year. By contrast, Gilead’s HIV pill Truvada, given to patients at high risk of HIV, is a once-a-day pill…” (Herper, 7/23).

The Telegraph: Game-changing implant could prevent HIV transmission for up to a year
“… A review of 18 studies looking at adherence to PrEP found widely differing rates — with one reporting that just 24 percent of participants stuck to the regime. An implant that only needs to be replaced every 12 months could be a powerful prevention tool, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where the rate of new HIV infections is still high and PrEP take-up has been low…” (Gulland, 7/23).

Washington Post: Implanted drug could someday prevent HIV infection
“…[The experimental drug] was tested on just 12 people, at two different concentrations. Another four test subjects received a placebo, in an early study designed to assess the safety of the drug and implant. They are years away from being publicly available. … Merck is also looking into the possibility of using the same drug as an oral medication to treat HIV infections, [George Hanna, a vice president with Merck Research Laboratories,] said” (Bernstein, 7/23).

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