Cipla's new strawberry-flavored medicine can save kids from AIDS
In a bid to save thousands of children from HIV AIDS, Indian pharmaceutical company Cipla has introduced a revolutionary new drug called Quadrimune. The medicine, developed in partnership with not-for-profit Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), carries the flavor of strawberries and can be consumed easily by toddlers and babies. Plus, it is relatively inexpensive as well. Here's all about it.
Problem with HIV medication for kids
While we already have medicinal treatments for babies living with HIV, all those methods revolve around old, bitter-tasting pills or syrups with as much as 40% alcohol content. Also, all the current medicines require refrigeration, which is often a problem in regions like Africa, where warm temperatures and electricity are common issues. In fact, people tend to bury medicines in the sand for cooling.
1.8 million children living with HIV, 300 die every day
Going by the numbers, nearly 1.8 million children are estimated to be living with HIV (90% being in sub-Saharan Africa) and merely 54% of them get treated properly. This means nearly 300 children die from AIDS every day.
Now, Cipla has a pleasant-tasting solution
After years of struggle with these problems, Cipla has finally developed the answer - Quadrimune. The drug comes in the form of a capsule, but its strawberry-flavored granules, which are nearly as big as sugar grains, can be easily swallowed by infants and kids. Parents can make it even more palatable by mixing it with milk or baby cereal.
Also, it doesn't require refrigeration
Quadrimune has been designed with a combination of four heat-stable antiretrovirals (ARVs), which means there's no need for refrigeration for the drug. "The new Quadrimune is pleasant-tasting, heat-stable, and easy-to-use," Bernard Pécoul, Executive Director of DNDi said. "We will finally have a treatment designed specifically for infants and young children, who are at the highest risk of dying if they do not receive treatment."
Once approved, it would save thousands of kids
Quadrimune is being reviewed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and should receive approval by next year. Once that is done, the drug will cost less than $1/day for a child between 10-14kg and 50 cents/day for younger toddlers. This would hopefully make the treatment of HIV accessible to more people and save tens of thousands of children worldwide.