HIV medication can also be used for young children, new research shows
An existing drug used to treat people with HIV has been proven to be effective and safe for younger children, according to research published by Radboud UMC. The medication, Dolutegravir, can be given to children who weigh less than 20 kilograms, they said. The World Health Organization (WHO) has since incorporated the findings into its guidelines.
The research at Radboud is a part of the Odyssey study. The study, conducted by a group of international scientists, aimed to discover the best medication for children with HIV. In 2020, the study extended to children over 20 kilograms, and the latest research provides answers for the care of the smallest children living with HIV; those at least four weeks old and weighing between three and 20 kilograms.
The manufacturer of the drug Dolutegravir has developed a special children’s tablet that low-income countries can also access. “The younger children start taking medication against HIV, the better. We aim to offer equal treatment options for children and adults in low-income countries,” said Angela Colbert, one of the researchers at Radboud UMC. “Dolutegravir is mainly used in adults, however, there was no suitable pill available for children and the dosage was unknown. Now we know that the new children’s tablet works well and what dosage we should use.”
HIV in children is a staggering issue with 1.8 million children under the age of 15 living with the disease worldwide. This can develop into AIDS without proper treatment. Medication can help people infected with the virus live a long life.
“A lot of work is being done on other treatments and vaccines, but unfortunately without results. The coronavirus crisis has had consequences for the fight against HIV, but hopefully, the knowledge about coronavirus vaccines will also have a positive effect on the development of HIV vaccines,” Colbers explained.