Monday, 20 July 2015

The sachet drug that saves babies from HIV

Inside a foil sachet, which looks more at home in a fast-food restaurant, an exact dose of antiretroviral medicine is helping to protect newborn babies against the threat of infection from their HIV-positive mothers.
Their babies must be given antiretroviral (ARV) medication within 24 hours of birth, otherwise the risk of the infection being passed from mother to child during pregnancy, labour, delivery or during breast-feeding is around 45%.
  According to the UN, mother-to-child transmission in the developing world creates 260,000 new infections in children every year 

The programme is enabling newborn babies to take
their medicines efficiently - via a pouch that looks just like the small ketchup sachets you get at fast food restaurants. Only in this case, they are filled with antiretroviral drugs, which protect against HIV.

Dr Robert Malkin, from Duke University, who led the design of the pouch and the research into its use in Ecuador, says some countries are better equipped than others to make use of it.

Cuba was recently declared by the World Health organization as the first country with 0% HIV infection between mother and child. (credit: Daniel Pardo, bbc)

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