Byanyima appreciates EU approval for long-acting HIV treatment

Prepared syringe 3mL of Cabotegravir.

Ms Winnie Byanyima, the UNAIDS Executive Director (ED), is grateful that the European Commission has approved an HIV treatment option designed for twice-yearly dosing.

Responding to the news, the ED said that universal production should be central in the matter so that all HIV positive patients can easily access and adhere to the drug.

By this, Ms Byanyima said the new kind of treatment will prevent AIDS-related deaths as most of the patients will not experience drug resistance due to non-adherence cause by the tiresome daily swallowing of the regimen.

‘It is great news that a range of long-acting HIV treatment options are set to come on stream. A range of options for long-acting treatments, received every few months, could enable more people to get on treatment or offer better clinical options for patients showing resistance to current regimens, therefore staying longer on treatment, and prevent many AIDS-related deaths – if they become available for all who need them. The evidence is clear: monopoly production cannot ensure global availability and affordability. Worldwide availability of affordable long-acting treatments will require the transfer of technology to enable generic production,’ she said.

The recent decision by ViiV to share its long-acting HIV prevention technology to enable generic production has demonstrated that sharing is possible for companies to do.

UNAIDS welcomed that decision and is urging an expansion of the number of countries included.

Currently, many upper middle-income countries do not have access to these technologies.

Achieving global targets to end AIDS would require countries around the world have access to newer technologies.

Ms Byanyima added that as a range of companies advance their development of long-acting HIV treatments, they should build on ViiV’s precedent, expanding the number of countries and learn from it by not waiting until after launch to transfer the technology.

‘Delays in the transfer of technology of innovative health products cost lives. The process of sharing of long-acting treatment technology, of the intellectual property rights and “recipes”, should not wait for after long-acting HIV treatment medicines are made available to people in rich countries. That process should begin at the early stages of the Research and Development (R&D) cycle.’

‘Sharing technology now, to help producers prepare, will save lives and help end the AIDS pandemic. The transfer of pandemic-ending technologies to low- and middle- income countries is not only the right thing to do, it is in the self-interest of rich countries too. We can only end AIDS by ending AIDS everywhere. To end AIDS, share technology. Now,’ Ms Byanyima continued.



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