The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given approval to start producing ViiV Healthcare’s cabotegavir, the first and only long-acting injectable pre-exposure prophylactic (PrEP) to reduce the risk of sexually acquired HIV-1. HIV-1 affects nearly 38 million people worldwide, and over time, the virus can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition causing progressive failure of the immune system that creates the opportunity for life-threatening cancers and infections to take hold. The injectable PrEP, cabotegavir, is an HIV-1 integrase strand transfer inhibitor (INSTI) that works as an antiretroviral to block the viral enzyme (integrase) from entering CD4 T cell’s DNA. Cabotegavir has been authorized for adults and adolescents who are at risk of acquiring the virus and is to be administered up to 6 times per year. With no cure for HIV, PrEPs are a common antiretroviral treatment taken by people who are HIV negative, but at risk of exposure to the virus. ViiV Healthcare, a pharmaceutical company created by Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, specializes in developing treatments for HIV.
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