People living with HIV may in the future be able to treat the virus with a once-a-month injection rather than through daily medication, potentially improving adherence rates.

Researchers have announced that a study of a long-acting monthly injection has shown that it is as effective at suppressing HIV as a daily cocktail of three drugs. 

The injection tested includes a combination of two drugs, cabotegravir and rilpivirine.

The global ATLAS study is being run by the ViiV Healthcare company with the participation of 618 adult men and women living with HIV. The landmark results come after 48 weeks of testing.

The research has been conducted in Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the United States.

The trial is in phase III, which is the final stage of testing before it can be submitted for approval for public use.

“This novel approach is another step towards potentially reducing the treatment burden for people living with HIV,” said John C. Pottage, Jr., MD, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer of ViiV Healthcare.

“If approved, this regimen would give people living with HIV one month between each dose of antiretroviral therapy, changing HIV treatment from 365 dosing days per year, to just 12," added Pottage.

Detailed results from the study will be presented at an upcoming scientific meeting, said the researchers.