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Hope for HIV-infected children as doctors unveil ‘super drug’

Parents of HIV-infected children can now sigh with relief after researchers came up with a single tablet that combines four antiretroviral drugs. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH
Parents of HIV-infected children can now sigh with relief after researchers came up with a single tablet that combines four antiretroviral drugs. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH 

Parents of HIV-infected children can now sigh with relief after researchers came up with a single tablet that combines four antiretroviral drugs.

The combination — taken once a day — is said to be effective and well tolerated by HIV-infected children aged 12 years above. However, Dr Eva Natukunda of the Joint Clinical Research Centre in Uganda said no once-a-day single-tablet regimen is available for HIV-infected children under 12 years. The new combination has been approved by the US and European Union authorities.

“The introduction of newer fixed dose combinations with the advantage of once daily dosing improves tolerability and toxicity in the treatment of children,” said Dr Natukunda.

The trials enrolled virologically suppressed HIV-infected children from five hospitals in Uganda, the US, and Thailand.

Eligible participants were aged between six and 11 years, weighed 25kg or more, had virological suppression for at least six months and no history of resistance to the drug.

The participants received an oral dose of elvitegravir 150mg, cobicistat 150mg, emtricitabine 200mg, and tenofovir alafenamide 10mg once per day for 24 weeks.

Dr Natella Rakhmanina of the Children’s Research Institute at the Children’s National Medical Centre, Washington DC, said 23 children were enrolled in the treatment.

The study was carried out between July 27 and Sept 28, 2015. The results were released late last month at an HIV/Aids conference in Paris, France. It was funded by Gilead Sciences.

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