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Zimbabwe approves HIV long-lasting injectable drug

Zimbabwe, has become the first country in Africa to approve a long-acting injectable drug that prevents HIV transmission.

The first two injections of Cabotegraviror CAB-LA are administered four weeks apart, followed by an injection every eight weeks.

The BBC reports that the drug has received regulatory approval in two other countries, the US and Australia.

Zimbabwe will begin rolling out the drug after regulators approved its use. The authorities said it would provide a crucial layer of protection for risk groups.

Large-scale studies of the drug showed a 79% reduction in HIV risk compared with oral pre-exposure prophylaxis, according to the World Health Organisation.

Zimbabwe approved a long-acting HIV-preventive vaginal ring earlier this year.

While African countries have dramatically reduced the number of new HIV infections, adolescent girls and young women remain at risk accounting for 63% of new infections last year.

Writing by Chinasa Ossai; Editing by Julian Osamoto