An effective drug that slows down HIV infections is now also available in a dosage specially designed for children. After research in which Radboudumc, among others, participated, the World Health Organization (WHO) has adjusted the treatment guidelines accordingly. The special children’s tablet of the drug dolutegravir is safe and effective, according to the researchers from Nijmegen.
For a long time there was no clear treatment advice for children with HIV, explains Radboudumc. A large international study changed this in 2020 for slightly older children, from 20 kilos.
Follow-up research has now been conducted which shows that the low-dose drug dolutegravir “is easy to use and can be safely prescribed” to children from 3 kilos, the hospital in Nijmegen said. That means that newborn babies infected with HIV can already get it. Ultimately, children are treated with a cocktail of different agents that suppress the virus.
“The younger children start taking medication against HIV, the better,” explains researcher Angela Colbers. For adults, dolutegravir is mainly used to inhibit the virus. Other treatments were approved for children, but this drug works better. “Now we know that the new children’s tablet works well and what dosage to use,” Colbers said in a statement. The research results were recently published in the scientific journal The Lancet.
Worldwide, 1.8 million children under the age of 15 are living with HIV, the Radboudumc estimates. Ultimately, it can lead to the deadly disease AIDS. HIV attacks the immune system, making patients less and less resistant to all kinds of pathogens. It is not yet possible to cure HIV, but people with HIV can now live a long life with medication.
Effective HIV drug available for young children
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