Antiretroviral therapy is a combination of several drugs to treat HIV positive persons. But some of the drugs in the therapy cause side effects such as anaemia, leucopenia, forcing many patients to stop the treatment midway.
The new drug delivery system, developed by researchers of Yogi Vemana University, Kadappa in Andhra Pradesh, involves use of natural polymers derived from the seeds of Cyamposis tetragonoloba or Guar gum, to deliver anti-HIV drug Zidovudine in a slow and sustained manner. Guar gum, a widely and cheaply available vegetable crop is biocompatible, biodegradable and is an excellent water soluble carbohydrate polymer. Hence, there is no side effect.
?It is neutrally charged and water soluble carbohydrate polymer and surface can be functionally modified as per requirements, so that Guar Gum can be easily used for preparation of stimuli-responsive drug delivery systems,? Dr. K.S.V. Krishna Rao of Yogi Vemana University told Indian Science Journal.
Dr. Rao said, it is useful not only to reduce the side-effects of HIV drugs but also useful for anti-cancer drugs, antibiotic drugs, etc. and it is highly reliable and safe.
In India, nearly one million people with HIV are on antiretroviral therapy or ART drugs. To manage HIV infection, an antiviral drug Zidovudine is orally administered. Treatment with this drug, however, causes serious side effects such as anaemia and reduction of white cells in blood. As a result, higher dose of this drug can be toxic to blood cells. Due to these side effects, many HIV positive people drop out of treatment midway.
If the drug can be released in a targeted and sustained manner, its side effects can be reduced. The researchers synthesized new microbeads from two natural polymers - Guar gum and sodium alginate ? to encapsulate Zidovudine. The microbeads help release the drugs specifically in the colon or lower intestine because the process of its release depends on acidity level and temperature.
The study has found that microbeads released approximately 96% of the encapsulated anti- HIV drug in a slow and sustained manner for up to 34 hours. The research results have appeared in scientific journal Carbohydrate Polymers.
Dr. Rao said, clinical trials are nearing completion and the drug delivery microbeads will be available to help for people living with HIV.
With inputs from India Science Wire, Vigyan Prasar
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