Health Care

New HIV Drug Would Only Need To Be Taken Once A Week

New HIV Drug Would Only Need To Be Taken Once A Week”

An ingestible "mini pill box", which releases a cocktail of HIV drugs in the stomach over several days, is a potential step towards reducing the burden of daily pill-taking, scientists reported on Tuesday.

A combination of different antiretroviral drugs must be taken every day in order for treatment to be successful, but patients can find it hard to stick to such a regimen. Studies have shown that only 30% of patients are normally given their doses. This type of delivery system could not only improve patients' adherence to their treatment schedule but also be used by people at risk of HIV exposure to help prevent them from becoming infected, the researchers say.

Researchers at the MIT and Harvard universities, as well as the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, led by Professor Robert Langer and assistant professor Giovanni Traverso, published the publication in Nature Communications. "The ability to make doses less frequent stands to improve adherence and make a significant impact at the patient level".

Although HIV mortality has declined significantly since the introduction of antiretroviral therapies in the 1990s and people with the virus have nearly regular life, there are still some 2.1 million new infections each year 1.2 million deaths.

Lyndra, created to develop the new pharmaceutical technology, is already working on a clinical trial of the capsule.

The capsule is a star-shaped structure with six arms that can be loaded with the necessary drugs, folded inwards and encased in a smooth swallowable coating.

After the capsule is taken orally, the arms unfold and gradually release their cargo.

For the treatment of HIV, however, the capsule would need to be able to release different drugs at different rates - something that the original design did not allow. This made it more hard to design new capsules that would release drugs at varying rates, because any changes to the polymer composition might disrupt the capsule's structural integrity. Average adherence is estimated at about 70 per cent for antiretroviral treatment (ART), which keeps human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) under control, but does not kill it.

"In a way, it's like putting a pillbox in a capsule". The device is created to stay in the stomach, being too large to pass through the pylorus, a valve between the stomach and the small intestine, but without inhibiting food passing through the digestive system.

In 2016, there were around 36.7 million people across the globe living with HIV or AIDS.

To test whether the newly designed capsule could be effective against HIV, the researchers loaded it with three different antiretroviral drugs - dolutegravir, rilpivirine, and cabotegravir - that are now used to both prevent and treat HIV.

"One of the main obstacles to HIV treatment and prevention is to maintain medication".

Commenting on the findings, Anthony Fauci - director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, which helped to fund the study - says, "A longer-acting, less invasive oral formulation could be one important part of our future arsenal to stop the HIV/AIDS pandemic". When this figure was incorporated into a computer model of HIV transmission in South Africa, the model showed that 200,000 to 800,000 new infections could be prevented over the next 20 years.

As such, the team adapted the design. It also seeks to prolong the useful life in the body of the capsule so that it can be used for other diseases.

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