Hope For HIV: Merck’s Drug For HIV Shows Promising Results

By Cyril , Feb 18, 2017 02:31 AM EST

With continuous efforts of eradicating HIV, authorities from pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co Inc. (MRK) have recently announced the positive results obtained from its Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of its HIV drug, doravirine (MK-1439). Since the company had started its quest for HIV, Merck has been considered to have taken a huge gap toward getting its lead HIV candidate doravirine from reaching the market, setting up a showdown with Johnson & Johnson's big-selling Prezista. Merck researchers said that doravirine has shown its value in a first phase 3 trial, matching the efficacy of a ritonavir-boosted Prezista regimen which is also referred to as darunavir in a span of over 48 weeks in previously untreated adults with HIV when given on top of standard two-drug antiretroviral regimens.

Doravirine: The Hope For HIV

According to reports revealed by Investopedia, the trial has allegedly compared the efficacy of two drug combinations, one that's consisting of doravirine with tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine (TDF/FTC), and another which is comprised of ritonavir-boosted darunavir with tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine (TDF/FTC), with the hopes of treating adults with previously untreated or considered as treatment-naïve from HIV-1 infection. Researchers have added that doravirine was also less likely to cause elevations in blood low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) levels, which has been well-known as a marker for the metabolic side effects linked to some antiretroviral drugs. Consequently, the study findings has been considered by the experts as a favorable result for doravirine, particularly as HIV protease inhibitor

Furthermore, in one of his statements reported by Fierce Biotech, during Merck's R&D head Roger Perlmutter said that doravirine has properties very much like efavirenz, which is another type of antiretroviral medication used to treat and prevent HIV/AIDS. However, experts have highly emphasized that Merck's doravirine consists of a substantially better safety profile which could lead it to be one of the dominant agents used in HIV treatment. It was also found that although HIV can generally be managed with available antiretroviral drugs, experts have claimed that there is still a need for new agents that overcome the limitations of earlier drugs, such as improved potency, dosing and tolerability, as well as effectiveness against drug-resistant strains of the virus.

Study Proposition For HIV

Meanwhile, director of infectious diseases at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Dr. Kathleen Squires, has further revealed that the results of this study provide solid evidence of the efficacy and safety profile of doravirine as a potential treatment option for treatment-naive HIV-1 patients. Ultimately, experts have anticipated that there are currently around 37 million people worldwide living with HIV, with new infections occurring at a rate of about 2 million a year.


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