New York: A new intravenous HIV drug has shown to be effective in reducing virus, boost immunity among patients with advanced, multi-drug resistant HIV infection, results of a phase-III trial has showed. As the first monoclonal antibody approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March 2018 to treat HIV, ibalizumab is a promising option for individuals who have tried several other drug therapies. Ibalizumab targets the primary receptor for HIV entry into immune cells known as CD4-T cells. This novel mechanism of action prevents HIV from entering target cells and interacting negatively with other medications.
It is delivered intravenously every two weeks and lasts longer than current HIV drugs, which has to be taken orally each day. “The result represents a much-needed new mechanism of action for patients who have highly resistant HIV,” said Brinda Emu, Assistant Professor at the Yale University in Connecticut, US. “It’s ushering in a whole class of medicine and a new mode of delivery for the treatment of HIV,” Emu added.
The trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that after one week on ibalizumab, the majority of the 40 patients (83 per cent) with multi-drug-resistant HIV, experienced decrease in viral load, which refers to the amount of HIV detected in the blood.
After 25 weeks, nearly half of patients saw viral load suppression dip below the level of detection as well as an increase in CD4-T cells, which are a marker for immune strength, the researchers said. “These patients had extremely advanced HIV and resistant virus with limited options. To see viral suppression in a significant percentage of these patients at six months is heartening,” Emu said.
However, since “ibalizumab was approved with a smaller number of patients treated than other medications due to the rarity of patients with multi-drug resistant HIV. As such, patients and providers must remain vigilant for side effects and adverse events,” Emu cautioned.