Research Roundup: Rapid COVID-19 tests and injectable HIV prevention treatment
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On Monday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to a point-of-care COVID-19 antigen test developed by Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD), a GHTC member. The test—one of several COVID-19 diagnostics that BD has been working on—detects infection by scanning for proteins found on or inside the virus. The hand-held device provides results in about 15 minutes and runs on a BD diagnostics platform widely used across the United States. The relative speed of production and low cost of the rapid test make it an important tool in fighting the pandemic, according to FDA. BD has said it expects to produce 10 million tests by the end of September and 2 million tests a week thereafter.
University of Oxford researchers are developing a rapid COVID-19 test that would cost less than US$25. The viral RNA test uses RT-LAMP technology and provides results from a throat or nasal swab within 30 to 45 minutes. The RT-LAMP technology requires no specialized equipment, scientific training, or a cold chain, which makes the device ideal for use in low- and middle-income countries that have less technical infrastructure. The test has gone through clinical validation, results of which researchers said would be published soon. Oxsed Limited, a new company launched by Oxford, will be pursuing its further development and market release.
Newly released data demonstrates that an injectable form of cabotegravir is more effective than widely used oral drugs for the HIV prevention strategy of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). There are currently two FDA-approved PrEP drugs, both of which require daily oral intake. The new data, from trials conducted by the HIV Prevention Trials Network, shows that a single shot of cabotegravir every two months is 66% more effective than the most commonly used PrEP pill, Truvada. Viiv Healthcare, the company that developed the injectable drug, hopes to file for FDA approval in early 2021. The findings were presented by researchers during AIDS 2020, an annual international conference held virtually last week.