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Once-a-week pill for HIV treatment developed

Press Trust of India  |  Boston 

Researchers have developed a that can deliver a week's worth of drugs in a single

The advance could make it much easier for patients to adhere to the strict schedule of dosing required for the drug cocktails used to fight the virus, the researchers said.

The new developed by researchers at Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US is designed so that patients can take it just once a week, and the drug will release gradually throughout the week.

This type of delivery system could not only improve patients' adherence to their treatment schedule but also be used by people at risk of exposure to help prevent them from becoming infected, the researchers said.

"One of the main barriers to treating and preventing is adherence," said Giovanni Traverso, a research affiliate at MIT and at Brigham and

"The ability to make doses less frequent stands to improve adherence and make a significant impact at the patient level," said Traverso, of the study published in the journal Nature Communications.

The consists of a star-shaped structure with six arms that can be loaded with drugs, folded inward, and encased in a smooth coating.

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

"In a way, it is like putting a pillbox in a capsule. Now you have chambers for every day of the week on a single capsule," Traverso said.

Tests in pigs showed that the capsules were able to successfully lodge in the stomach and release three different HIV drugs over one week, researchers said.

The capsules are designed so that after all of the drug is released, they disintegrate into smaller components that can pass through the digestive tract.

Working with the Institute for Disease Modeling in Washington, the researchers tried to predict how much impact a weekly drug could have on preventing

They calculated that going from a daily to a weekly could improve the efficacy of HIV preventative treatment by about 20 per cent.

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 could be prevented over the next 20 years, researchers said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 10 2018. 13:45 IST