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Distributing the first strawberry-flavored medicine to children with AIDS in Africa


The World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that UNITAID, a "global health agency working with partners for the latest innovations to prevent, diagnose and treat major diseases in low- and middle-income countries, with a focus on tuberculosis, malaria and HIV", distributed strawberry-flavored tablets to children. People living with HIV/AIDS in 6 African countries.


According to Reuters, the first antiretroviral drug for children was manufactured from the original drug for adults.


The funding aims to reach the purchase of 100,000 packages of the "dolutegravir" formula for Nigeria, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Benin, where about 1.8 million children around the world live with HIV, "and often have HIV," said Herve Verhusel, a spokesman for the relief agency. It is difficult to use for children due to bitter taste or incorrect doses by crushing adult tablets. About 100,000 children die of AIDS annually.


"With the formulation recently delivered in those first six countries, this project is now a reality," Verhusel, who is visiting the UAE, said of the initiative, which was first announced last December.


He added that these procurements are designed to start demand and that major donors have "quickly moved to sustainable procurement, which will enable national expansion and broad reach for all eligible children at an unprecedented pace."


The World Health Organization recommends first-line treatment for HIV from 4 weeks of age or 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds), but it has been out of reach of children due to a lack of appropriate formulations.


Relief agency UNITAID has reached a pricing agreement with makers of the generic "methyl" drug for the pediatric formulation of dolutegravir.


The agency UNITAID added that the estimated cost of a combination treatment would now be around $120 for an annual treatment for a child, up from the current $480, making it a "game changer" for poor countries.


Verhusel confirmed that the partnership with the Medicines Patent Group has allowed for voluntary licensing agreements across 121 countries.

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