Once-a-week pill for HIV 'ready for testing in people'

From BBC - January 9, 2018

Human trials of a once-a-week oral pill for HIV can start, after successful tests in pigs, say US scientists.

The slow-release tablet could free patients from having to take daily medication, they say.

It looks like a normal capsule, but on reaching the stomach its coating dissolves and a special structure packed inside unfolds.

This 4cm (1.5in) star-shaped scaffold stays in the stomach for seven days, steadily releasing its cargo of drugs.

The star is too large to move out of the stomach but still allows food to journey through to the small intestine.

Once it has delivered its payload, the star begins to degrade and passes on through the digestive tract.

In the pig trial, the researchers dosed it with enough of three antiretroviral drugs - dolutegravir, rilpivirine and cabotegravir - to last for seven days.

The researchers say, in the future, the oral drug delivery device could be used for a wide range of diseases, not just HIV.

Slow release

Preliminary tests in pigs have already been done with a malaria drug called ivermectin and the star remaining in the stomach for up to two weeks.


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