One Injection Every 8 Weeks Works As Well As 3 Daily HIV Pills, According To Trial

However, researchers still have to confirm the results in larger studies.
Ron Chapple Stock via Getty Images

(Reuters) - A long-acting two-drug injection given once every eight weeks worked as well as three daily pills in suppressing HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, according to a clinical trial backed by Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline.

Paul Stoffels, J&J’s head of pharmaceuticals, said the finding offered a potentially "transformational" way to fight HIV, if the result is confirmed in larger final-stage trials. He believes the combination could be on the market by 2020.

The mix of J&J's rilpivirine and cabotegravir, from GSK's HIV unit ViiV Healthcare, proved just as good as taking three daily pills at maintaining minimal viral levels in HIV-infected patients when given either monthly or every two months.

Patients getting injections every month had viral suppression of 94 percent after 32 weeks, while the suppression rate was 95 percent for those receiving treatment every eight weeks. By comparison, patients on tablets had a suppression rate of 91 percent.

During a research and development update for investors in New York on Tuesday, GSK said ViiV's cabotegravir was one of the highlights of its new-drug pipeline.

GSK has a majority stake in ViiV, alongside minority holders Pfizer and Shionogi.

A late-stage study of a second combination, J&J's rilpivirine and ViiV's dolutegravir, has already begun. The companies are planning to develop other combinations.

(Reporting by Vidya L Nathan in Bengaluru and Ben Hirschler in London; Editing by Don Sebastian and Adrian Croft)

Also on HuffPost:

1:27 PM: San Francisco, California
Courtesy of Michael Blake
San Francisco AIDS Foundation: A day in the life of Michael Blake, who is a Magnet program nurse at our gay men's health clinic in the heart of the Castro.
1:32 PM: Rome, Italy
Courtesy of Stephen J. Lewis
1:32 PM: Rome, ItalyStephen J. Lewis (via Twitter): Supporting HIV awareness on A Day with HIV with a picture from the Gallery of Maps in the Vatican
San Diego, California
Courtesy of Mark Holmes
Mark Holmes: There are few barriers folks with HIV can’t overcome. I have been living with HIV for 30 years. I am also deaf, and require hearing aids. But I also go jetpack flying three times a month!
2:51 PM: London, England
Courtesy of Anthony Babajee
Anthony Babajee: At Parliament Hill, one of the best views of London.
3:30 PM: Brooklyn, New York
Courtesy of Ken Williams
Ken Williams (left): I work pretty hard to eradicate HIV stigma. I write, I blog, but there’s been nothing I’ve done in the war against stigma more effective than being present and living my experience openly. So, today, I got in the picture with my friend Charles Johnson.
4:05 PM: Atlanta, Georgia
Courtesy of Jay and Sherri-Ann
Jay McMinn: I took a selfie with my friend and colleague Sherri-Ann, who coordinates our company's volunteers for the AIDS Walk Atlanta & 5K Run. She uses a week of vacation time to be onsite and help set up for the Walk. Sherri and I picture a day without HIV, and continue fighting until then.
5:38 PM: Washington, D.C.
Courtesy of NoeÌl Gordon
Noël Gordon (left): My colleague Marcos Garcia and I are committed to ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We represent the changing face of the epidemic, and as such, we think it is our responsibility to raise awareness of the needs of young gay and bisexual men of color wherever we go.
5:50 PM: West Virginia
Courtesy of Barbara
Barbara Lagodna: At age 60, running keeps me healthy and fit!
6:20 PM: Maryland
Courtesy of Jason Daisey
Jason Daisey: I tested HIV-positive just one week ago. It was a scary week, but I won’t let it change my life for the worse. My center and balance point is being in the barn with my horses. I’m a professional guy, the kind that no one ever would think would get diagnosed with HIV. Now’s my time to educate other gay men about how real this really is.
6:20 PM: Chicago, Illinois
Courtesy of Andrew Espinos
6:20 PM: Chicago, IllinoisAndrew Espinosa: Fun on the trampoline with my nephews! Living with HIV since 1997 and blessed to be still here with them.
6:25 PM: Mechanicsville, VirginiaM
Courtesy of Melissa Baker
elissa Baker: Surprised my angel with princess ballet lessons... just another day with HIV.
6:37 PM: Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies
Courtesy of Tyker Pionero
6:37 PM: Trinidad and Tobago, West IndiesTyker Pionero: Photo of my mom and me about to dance. I have learned to cherish the little things after losing people I knew and loved to this virus, so when I get the opportunity to steal a dance with her, I do. Much love from Trinidad and Tobago.
6:44 PM: Holland
Courtesy of Eliane Becks Nininahazwe
6:44 PM: HollandEliane Becks Nininahazwe: I am an HIV-positive woman living in Holland, although I am originally from Burundi. I’ve been HIV-positive since 2003. I am also an artist and try to present a positive image. I openly talk about my HIV, so then people can understand that we are normal and can live normal lives like anyone else. In 2006, I decided to have a kid. I now have two boys, both HIV-free!
7:30 PM: Chicago, Illinois
Courtesy of Robert Garofalo
Robert Garofalo: My Day with HIV looks just like any other day -- here with my wingman, my little munchkin. As a puppy, he saved me when no one else could as I struggled make peace with this virus. Today, he helps makes every day just a little bit better. The best part is that he has no idea what HIV is. All he knows about is unconditional love. Together we are unstoppable.
10:20 PM: The Bronx, New York
Courtesy of Susanna Feder
10:20 PM: The Bronx, New YorkSusanna Feder: After a New York Yankees win over Boston. Excited with a good friend, and showing off my dress at the subway stop. You can see the lights of NYC and the Freedom Tower in the background. Being a part of life, not afraid to enjoy every minute.
10:30 PM: Santa Rosa, California
Courtesy of Ayrick Broin
Ayrick Broin: I was diagnosed with HIV in 1999 and AIDS in late 2000. None of the medications worked for me up until recently. Thanks to my wonderful doctor and his nursing team I’m back on the stage in California’s wine country. Life is a Cabaret!

Do you have info to share with HuffPost reporters? Here’s how.

Go to Homepage

MORE IN Wellness