China approves new HIV prevention drug

To be used alongside safe copulation methods.

Belmont Lay | August 16, 2020, 02:22 AM

China's National Medical Products Administration has approved a new HIV prevention drug, Truvada, according to reports out of China.

Gilead Sciences, the United States-based biopharmaceutical company, announced the approval on Aug. 11, 2020.

Early information put out in the report said Truvada is the first of its kind to be approved in China.

Its efficacy rate has not been thoroughly reported though, but the drug is said to be able to "reduce the risk of contracting HIV-1", provided other precautionary measures are taken.

Gilead Sciences said Truvada is not something to be taken only when planning to have sex, and it does not serve as a "morning-after pill".

The pill has to be taken consistently.

Targeted at adult users who are HIV-negative

Users must be adult and test negative for the virus before consumption.

Users of the medication must weigh 35kg and above, and they will have to take one pill a day.

Truvada can reduce the risk of contracting HIV-1 through sexual activity, but its use must be accompanied by safe sex practices.

Gilead Sciences said clinical trial data showed that HIV-1 infection cases was significantly lower in the group that received the drug compared to the placebo group.

Side effects

But taking the drug comes with side effects.

The most commonly reported ones include headaches, abdominal pain and weight loss.

131,000 HIV case in 10 months in China

The field of HIV prevention medicine in China is untapped with significant unmet needs.

Domestic infectious disease experts said the new drug addresses these needs by providing a new prevention option and reducing the number of new HIV infections in China.

Based on publicly available information, the drug appears to be addressing the needs of the HIV-negative partners of HIV-positive persons.

New HIV infection cases in China totalled 131,000 from January to October 2019.

Sexual transmission was the main transmission route, the National Health Commission said in November last year.

Top photo via Unsplash