Dolutegravir recommended by WHO as the preferred first-line AIDS treatment in latest guidelines

At the International AIDS Conference, held recently in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, WHO issued its 2018 guidelines on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, recommending dolutegravir (DTG) as the preferred first-line antiviral treatment for HIV/AIDS in adults and adolescents.


According to WHO, choosing better agents for treatment and prevention can have a more durable benefit on the HIV-infected group and at lower treatment costs. Better treatment drugs can also effectively control HIV infection and its spread, and help eventually eliminate HIV transmission.


As pointed out in the guidelines, using DTG is superior to second-line, non-DTG treatments, including among children, women of childbearing ages and pregnant women. Consequently, DTG is recommended as the preferred second-line treatment as well. The guidelines also recommend DTG + TDF + 3TC or FTC as the preferred prevention following HIV exposure.


According to the 2018 WHO guidelines, as of the end of 2017, approximately 70 low- and medium-income countries had included or were planning to include DTG in their national guidelines, and to transit to DTG-based first-line treatment. 


WHO guidelines also point out that in the case of special groups, HIV-infected women within 8 weeks of pregnancy for example, a treatment plan containing DTG can be considered after 8 weeks of gestation to avoid the potential risk of foetal neural tube defects caused by DTG.

“The updating of WHO guidelines has special significance for medium- and low-income countries in their HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention strategies,” said Professor Fujie Zhang, Director of Infection Clinical and Research Centre at Beijing Ditan Hospital Capital Medical University. “Recommending better drugs, with high resistance barriers, fast and long-lasting effects in virus suppression and fewer drug interactions, as the preferred first-line agent for AIDS treatment and drug-aided prevention will produce a longer-lasting benefit on the infected group and high-risk groups. China is a developing country, and the updating of WHO guidelines will have a positive and profound impact on both clinical HIV/AIDS treatment and drug-aided prevention in China.”


Mr. James He, VP, Head of R&D and Medical at GSK China, said, “GSK has been committed to the development of HIV/AIDS antiviral drugs with excellent efficacy worldwide. We have launched a number of AIDS antiviral drugs, including Tivicay (DTG), which have been clinically proven to have good effectiveness and safety. In addition, we have a number of drugs in clinical development globally. We hope that through our unremitting efforts, we can bring more and better treatment options to people living with HIV.”


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