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DNDi launches new drug development program to address treatment needs of children with HIV/AIDS
Date:7/18/2011

Rome/Geneva (18 July 2011) Today at the 6th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) announced the launch of a new drug development programme to address critical unmet treatment needs of children with HIV/AIDS.

Because HIV transmission in young children has largely been eliminated in high-income countries due to effective prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) interventions, little market incentive exists for pharmaceutical companies to develop antiretroviral (ARV) drugs adapted for children. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends immediate antiretroviral therapy (ART) for all HIV-positive children less than two years old, but the safety and correct dosing of key ARVs have not been established in very young children, and appropriate child-adapted formulations do not exist. Current paediatric ARV formulations are unpalatable for these children, are impractical for caregivers due to multiple liquid preparations that have to be adjusted according to weight, and have undesirable interactions with tuberculosis (TB) drugs.

"There are millions of children with HIV/AIDS in low- and middle-income countries, but their needs are absent from the HIV research and development agenda, and this is largely because they are poor and voiceless and do not represent a lucrative market," said Dr. Bernard Pcoul, Executive Director of DNDi. "Working with partners, we hope to help fill this terrible gap and offer improved treatment options for children with HIV/AIDS."

Last year, Mdecins Sans Frontires/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), UNITAID, and other organisations called upon DNDi to apply its expertise to paediatric HIV/AIDS based on its track record in delivering new medicines for neglected diseases. DNDi, a not-for-profit R&D organization, develops new treatments for neglected patients suffering from sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis, C
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Contact: Oliver Yun
oyun@dndi.org
646-266-5216
Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative
Source:Eurekalert

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