Paediatric AIDS Drugs: What's Urgently Needed
Across the globe last year, an estimated 540,000 children under 15 were newly infected with HIV, of whom nearly 90% live in Africa. But there are no affordable AIDS tests that work in babies, or medicines that children can take easily. And without treatment, half of all babies born with HIV in poor countries die before their second birthday. But because developing AIDS drugs for poor children is not profitable, many companies don’t even study the effects of existing or new adult antiretroviral drugs in children. As an example, WHO recommends efavirenz for treating AIDS in children, but to date it still has not been studied in children under three years. At least two companies, Cipla and Ranbaxy, are developing much needed triple-drug formulations for children. And some companies are working on low dosage tablets for kids. But we need to put pressure on all drug companies to systematically study all of their AIDS drugs in children and make easy-to-use formulations for kids now. We must make sure that the youngest people living with AIDS are not forgotten.