Pharmaceutical giant Merck has announced that Isentress (raltegravir) has been granted a licence from the European Commission to treat HIV.
It has been approved for use in combination with other antiretroviral products for the treatment of HIV-1 infection in treatment-experienced adult patients with evidence of HIV-1 replication, despite ongoing antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Raltegravir is the first approved integrase inhibitor – a new class of ART that works by targeting the integrase enzyme, which is essential for HIV replication.
Ken Frazier, executive vice president at Merck, said: “Raltegravir is an important new advancement in the treatment of HIV, because it is the first therapy in a new class of drugs that attacks the virus in a completely different way from other available medicines.”
Nearly 250,000 cases of HIV have been reported in the EU since 2002, according to the European Centre for the Epidemiological Monitoring of HIV and AIDS.
Jurgen Rockstroh, professor of medicine and head of the HIV Outpatient Clinic at the University of Bonn, added: “Treatment-experienced HIV patients have limited options for therapies that are well-tolerated and can reduce viral loads while boosting CD4 counts.
“The approval of raltegravir in the EU represents a significant scientific advancement, but more importantly, it addresses a much-needed evolution in the treatment of HIV and AIDS.”
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