This Implant Could Prevent HIV – Bill and Melinda Gates Got its Backing

Technology
This Implant Could Prevent HIV – Bill and Melinda Gates Got its Backing HIV_story_jpeg_12 Wheeler Cowperthwaite / Flickr cc

Millions have died all over the world since the first case of HIV infection was recorded in 1981. But more than 30 years after, a proven and tested cure for this dreaded virus remains elusive.

Although there’s still no cure for HIV available, pre-exposure prophylaxis medicines and technologies have emerged over the past 10 years.

HIV Research

One of the latest advancements in HIV prevention research is the development of an intra-dermal implant that could lower the risk of contracting the virus. As reported by Quartz, the initiative has the backing of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS or acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Today, individuals living with HIV receive anti-retro viral (ARV) drugs to delay the effects of the virus.

To ensure that the technology succeeds, the foundation poured in at least $140 million to Intarcia Pharmaceutics, the implant’s developer. The pharmaceutical firm also developed a similar technology for type 2 diabetes, which will mass-produced late this year.

HIV PrEP Implant

Once a person gets infected, the virus remains dormant for up to 10 years without showing any symptoms. Once the virus enters the body, it then eats up other healthy cell until the person’s immune system can no longer handle the viral load, which may lead to AIDS. The PrEP works by delaying the spread of the virus further into the body.

In a statement, as reported by Intarcia, Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said that financial aid aims to support the effort in providing HIV prevention and treatment.

“There’s a vital need for an HIV/AIDS intervention that allows those at risk to incorporate prevention more easily into their daily lives. We feel optimistic about our partnership with Intarcia and the prospect of an implantable prophylactic device that could make a world of difference for people most in need,” Desmond-Hellmann said.

Government data shows that there are 36. 7 million individuals living with HIV in the world. Roughly 71 percent of them are from the sub-Saharan African region. Also, around 1.8 million children are infected with this dreaded virus.