< 1 min read

A once-weekly pill designed to stay in the stomach to deliver a gradual long-lasting dose of medications to combat HIV is being developed to help those living with HIV.

Developed by scientists from Brigham Women’s Hospital and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the pill which is still in its research phase, could help reduce non-adherence by patients and help ensure that they stay healthy, further eliminating the risk of passing on the virus.

Highlighting the need for such medication, studies have shown that around 50% of patients fail to take medicine for chronic diseases or conditions as prescribed, thereby reducing the effectiveness of treatment.


“These slow-release dosage systems perform equal or better than the current daily doses for HIV treatment in preclinical models,” explained C. Giovanni Traverso, MB, BChir, Ph.D., who is a gastroenterologist and biomedical engineer in the Division of Gastroenterology at BWH and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Along with helping those currently living with HIV, scientists are also hopeful that the star-shaped weekly pill could also be used for PrEP to help prevent HIV.

The pills development has been praised by researchers who say that conversion from a daily to weekly dose could improve the efficacy of PrEP by up to 20 percent, with computer models of populations in South Africa showing that implementing the new weekly dosage has the potential to prevent 200,000 to 800,000 new infections over the next 20 years.


The team is now focussing on working to scale up and validate its results from preclinical models to translate this potential therapy to patients. The research was published in Nature Communications.

Last Updated on Jan 16, 2018

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