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HIV treatment: people may only need to take pill instead of taking multiple medications

Clicks:Updated:2018-01-12 13:01:25

HIV treatment: people may only need to take pill instead of taking multiple medications.
HIV treatment involves a combination of medicines that must be taken once or twice a day, making treatment adherence challenging for many. But researchers may have found a way to solve the problem, only need to take pills once a week.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, have developed an antiretroviral drug that can be taken in capsules and released slowly for a week. The team's novel creation is likely to change HIV treatment because it means that people may only need to take pills once a week instead of taking multiple medications daily.
HIV and antiretroviral therapy
HIV is a virus that attacks and destroys immune cells that are important for preventing infections and diseases. If not treated in time, AIDS can progress to AIDS. One's immune system is severely damaged and prone to serious illnesses.
In 2016, about 36.7 million people worldwide were living with HIV / AIDS. About 1.8 million of these people are newly infected.
Just 30 years ago, many considered HIV as the death penalty. Today, the virus can be managed successfully with antiretroviral drugs, which act by reducing the level of HIV in the body.
In order for the treatment to succeed, different antiretroviral drugs must be taken daily, but it is difficult for patients to adhere to this regimen.
Giovanni Traverso, co-author of the study, said: "One of the major barriers to the treatment and prevention of HIV is compliance," said Giovanni Traverso of the Koch Institute for Comprehensive Cancer Research at MIT. "The ability to reduce doses can increase compliance and have a significant impact on the patient's level."
He added: "The performance of these extended-release dose systems is comparable to or better than the daily doses currently used in HIV treatment in preclinical models.
Construction of "capsule kit"
With that in mind, the researchers decided to create an idea first appearing in 2016, an ingestible capsule that could stay in the stomach for 2 weeks and deliver the drug.
In a previous study, Langer and his colleagues demonstrated how capsules can help treat malaria by slowly releasing a controlled dose of ivermectin, a malaria drug.
For their most recent study, the team looked at whether the capsule can effectively treat HIV, but some design changes are needed.
The original capsule consisted of six arms made of a single strong polymer. Each arm is filled with medicine and folded. After ingestion, the arms fold out and release the medication.
However, in order to treat HIV, capsules need to be able to deliver different drugs at different rates - something the original design did not allow.
Therefore, the team adapted the design. The main structure of the new capsule is still composed of a single strong polymer, but each of the six arms can accommodate a different drug due to the addition of "release polymer."
Traverso said: "To some extent, it's like putting a medicine kit in a capsule, and now every day of the week there is a medicine kit.
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