The newest once-daily, all-in-one HIV combination pills can maintain undetectable viral load for two years and counting, according to a set of recent studies.
Biktarvy is a pill that contains the new integrase inhibitor bictegravir, emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide (TAF). A study randomised people starting treatment for the first time to take Biktarvy or Triumeq, which consists of the integrase inhibitor dolutegravir plus abacavir and lamivudine.
After two years, 88% of Biktarvy recipients and 90% of Triumeq recipients had an undetectable viral load, showing that the two pills gave very similar results. Virological failure and drug resistance were rare in both groups of people. Fewer people receiving Biktarvy had side-effects from their treatment.
Delstrigo is a pill that containes the new non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) doravirine plus tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) and lamivudine. A study randomised people starting treatment for the first time to take Delstrigo or Atripla, which contains the NNRTI efavirenz, TDF and emtricitabine.
After two years, 78% of people given Delstrigo and 74% given Atripla had an undetectable viral load, again showing that the two pills gave very similar results. Virological failure was uncommon and drug resistance was rare in both groups of people. Fewer people receiving Delstrigo had side-effects from their treatment.
Whereas the last two studies were of people taking HIV treatment for the first time, the third one was of people switching from a protease inhibitor-based treatment (with several pills) to Symtuza, a single tablet that contains the protease inhibitor darunavir, cobicistat as a booster, TAF and emtricitabine.
After two years, 91% of those given Symtuza had an undetectable viral load. Virological failure, drug resistance and serious side-effects were rare.
Taken together, the results of these studies provide reassurance that people taking the most recently approved all-in-one antiretroviral regimens can expect ongoing viral suppression, with few side-effects.