An Argentine laboratory developed an innovative treatment with a single daily tablet to treat HIV

Optimizing the experience in the daily treatment against HIV places the patient closer to integrating a formula for which this disease, currently chronic in time, can ascend another step.

It is through the formula i=i (undetectable=untransmittable) that means that the patient with HIV, by being accessible and constant with their daily therapy, can become a person with an undetectable viral load; which he will then make non-transferable. It will stop spreading. The evolution of remissions and the extinction of virus reservoirs is still under in-depth study.

To help all this happen, it is necessary to ensure access and simplify the so-called “cocktails” of antiretroviral drugs, which in some cases today exceed 10 daily tablets. Precisely here lies the significance of this launch by Laboratorios Richmond, to which Infobae had access: to offer a complete therapeutic alternative for HIV/AIDS through a single tablet per day, which will also improve adherence over time, that is, that the patient “does his homework well and completes” regarding his treatment: that when he feels better, he does not leave it, that he strictly follows the medical indications, that he is controlled periodically and that he attends to any comorbidity, among other recommendations.

The launch begins today in Argentina, and will have a regional scope in stages, as the health regulators of each country grant the corresponding approvals. In an exclusive dialogue with Infobae, Marcelo Figueiras, president of Richmond Laboratories explained: “We started with Argentina. We are going to reach Chile, Paraguay and Peru in the near future. And then we will grow towards other countries in the region”.

Figueiras also highlighted the added value of Argentine science for this truly innovative medicine: “It is a new product developed by our work teams in the country, with clinical studies also carried out in the country, and which is made at our Pilar plant. It will benefit many people and is another step in access to quality treatment for HIV.”

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On this increasingly fertile path towards the cure of HIV-AIDS, the new tablet offers a complete therapeutic alternative that combines these three drugs: dolutegravir (DTG), emtricitabine (FTC) and tenofovir AF (TAF) in fixed, single and combined (FDC) of the three active ingredients.

Consulted by Infobae, Elvira Zini, director of Scientific Affairs of Richmond Laboratories explained that “with treatment with TriZevuvir, as long as the patient is adherent, an undetectable viral load is achieved quickly and it is maintained over time”. Another innovative and relevant aspect is that this drug can be administered to pregnant women.

One of the main challenges for treatment to be effective is to ensure that patients take the medication regularly, to achieve an undetectable, and therefore untransmittable, viral load.

Even so, adherence to treatment continues to be one of the biggest obstacles in the fight against this disease, and the reasons are multiple: from lack of access, especially in the interior of the country; to the fact of feeling well and not having symptoms, which is why many patients do not maintain the regularity of the treatment or directly abandon it.

This new pill developed in the country by Richmond will mark a before and after in the treatment of HIV/AIDS: the medication has already been approved by the National Administration of Medicines, Food and Medical Technology (ANMAT) and is an alternative that is available for the national health system, as it is a more accessible product for the patient in a single dose.

It is estimated that in Argentina there are around 140 thousand inhabitants with HIV.

Currently, the scientific recommendation guides of the United States, the European ones and the latest published by the Argentine Society of Infectious Diseases (SADI) recommend first-line the use of this new medication as a comprehensive treatment for HIV.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is the most serious form of infection caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a pathogen that attacks the immune system. It affects 38 million people in the world and every year, some 650,000 people die from causes related to HIV, according to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO).

In Argentina it is estimated that there are currently 140,000 people living with HIV, of which more than 70% receive antiretroviral therapy (ART) that reduces the presence of the virus in the body, according to data from the Bulletin of Response to HIV and to STIs (sexually transmitted infections) disseminated by the National Ministry of Health in December 2021.

Encouraging adherence, that is, helping patients stay on treatment, contributes substantially to the 90-90-90 goals of the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). This goal aims for 90% of people living with HIV to know their serological status, for 90% of those diagnosed with HIV to receive continuous antiretroviral therapy and, finally, for 90% of people on treatment to reach a undetectable viral load.

“It will be impossible to end the epidemic without providing HIV treatment to all those who need it,” UNAIDS experts emphasize as a permanent catchphrase.

TriZevuvir is a single tablet to treat HIV/AIDS that combines three antiretroviral drugs: Dolutegravir (DTG) -antiretroviral drug belonging to the group of integrase inhibitors-, Emtricitabine (FTC) -antiretroviral drug belonging to the pharmacological group of nucleoside analog reverse transcriptase inhibitors; and Tenofovir AF (TAF) -hepatitis B virus nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor drug-.

“Having a single dose improves adherence to treatment, because taking it is very simple, the tablet is very small and easy to swallow. It is taken once a day, at a time that is most comfortable for the patient, because it can be taken with or without food. And as in other HIV products, the packaging we use allows the patient to carry a single tablet without removing it from its original container, ”she explained in dialogue with Infobae Elvira Zini, director of Scientific Affairs of Richmond.

In addition, patients of any age range and at any stage of disease can start HIV/AIDS treatment with this single daily tablet. And it is even a complete treatment that can be carried out by pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy.

To achieve treatment success, it is also essential to detect HIV infection in its early stages: “Given the safety of current treatments, it is very important to be tested and start treatment when you are still in good health, because this decreases the risk of contracting the disease and improves the quality of life. In addition, by having a low viral load, the risk of being a transmitter is reduced, “said Zini.

How is the treatment to combat HIV

Its form of administration is a coated tablet orally, once a day with or without food. Its tablet format is small and easy to swallow. In addition, the efficacy and safety of this combination was demonstrated in various clinical studies that included the population of pregnant women.

In Argentina, the National Law on HIV, Viral Hepatitis, Tuberculosis and Sexually Transmitted Infections was recently approved, which ensures free antiretroviral treatment, but also addresses the psychological aspect and proposes a comprehensive approach from collective health. This means a change of perspective with a focus on the social that aims to improve the quality of life and prevent avoidable deaths.

The closest cure

The 24th International Conference on AIDS, which took place in Montreal, Canada, and ended the day before yesterday, helped to install in the public debate what HIV patients still need and what are the vulnerable areas of the disease that are still difficult to make visible. Although cases of patients who managed to control the disease were presented at this world summit of experts on pathology, they are patients who still maintain reservoirs of the virus in the body, which indicates that there is hope but there is still a pending path towards a cure for HIV /AIDS.

Laboratorios Richmond is an Argentine pharmaceutical company with a presence in the region and has a long history in medicines for the treatment of HIV: since 1996, 25 products were launched, of which 18 were the first generic in the country and 5 fixed doses, unique and combined (FDCs) own.

The first milestone of the Argentine laboratory was reached in 1997, when it produced the first generic of Didanosine and a year after Zidovudine, the famous AZT. In 1999 it also developed the first generic of Indinavir. In those years the pharmaceutical industry was already beginning to develop combinations and so it was that in 2000 Richmond was the first laboratory to present a generic that combined Lamivudine and Zidovudine. In 2017, Richmond launched the first generic of the combination of Efavirenz, Emtricitabine and Tenofovir DF, a well-known complete treatment, with an innovative composition.

“This is the path we set out for many years ago, when at the beginning of the HIV epidemic we developed the world’s first generic protease inhibitor. We have developed many other products that saved lives in different pathologies, without forgetting the production of vaccines in the pandemic and having been part of the largest vaccination campaign in history”, concluded Figueiras.

SOURCE: Infobae.

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