There seems to a breakthrough in the fight against HIV/AIDS in babies in Africa and particularly countries like Uganda as a new strawberry flavored tablet for children living with HIV will be rolled out in African countries in 2021, the first generic pediatric version of a key anti-retroviral available even for babies, aid agencies said on Tuesday, World AIDS Day.
It is estimated that over 1.7 million children worldwide live with HIV, but only half receive any treatment – often hard to administer due to the bitter taste or incorrectly dosed by crushing adult pills, UNITAID said. Some 100,000 children die of AIDS annually.
“For many of those children, the HIV virus is not suppressed due in part to lack of availability of effective drugs that are palatable and properly adapted for them,” UNITAID spokesman Herve Verhoosel told a Geneva news briefing.
UNITAID, a global health agency, and the Clinton Health Access Initiative have reached a pricing agreement with the generic drug-makers Viatris and Macleods for the dispersible pediatric formulation of dolutegravir, a statement said.
The first-line HIV treatment is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) from the age of four weeks and 3 kilos (6.6 pounds), but it had been out of reach for babies because of the lack of appropriate formulations.
The estimated cost for combination therapy will now be some $120 for a child’s annual treatment, against $480 currently, making it a “game-changer” for poorer countries, UNITAID said.
The first African countries that have been identified to receive the first tablets in the first half of 2021 are Benin, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe- Verhoosel said.
Uganda has been one of the leading nations in Africa when it comes to managing HIV/AIDS and news of managing the virus in children will be welcomed as a big step in the right direction.
Also, read: Over 100 Farmers Killed In Nigeria Attacks
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is an avid Sports and Tech enthusiast. He loves to keep up to date with all the latest information and research on some of the most compelling stories.