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HIV News: Billionaire Funds $140M Technology That Will Stop Spreading HIV Disease

First Posted: Jan 09, 2017 04:00 AM EST
World AIDS Day Commemorated In San Francisco
$140 million will be given to the development of the tiny implantable drug pump.
(Photo : Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Up to now, one of the challenges in the field of medicine is to find cure for AIDS. Fortunately, scientists were able to make a tiny implantable drug pump to somehow prevent the spread of the disease. Bill Gates is willing to fund this, spending $140 million.

To support the development of this tiny implantable drug pump, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is investing $140 million. It is believed to help prevent the people in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere from being infected with HIV.

However, the disease has no cure yet. The tiny implantable drug pump stops the HIV, which is the virus that causes AIDS. Through the strategy called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), people who are at very high risk for the HIV disease can have an HIV medicine to lessen the chances of infection.

According to Quartz, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that "PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. It is highly effective for preventing HIV if used as prescribed, but it is much less effective when not taken consistently."

A dose of PrEP daily can lessen the risk of contracting HIV 90 percent from sex. Thus, for the patients to take the drug every day is critical for preventing HIV effectively.

In line with this, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is investing $140 million in hopes of addressing the issue. The money would help the Intarcia Therapeutics, which is a Boston-based biopharmaceutical company, to develop the tiny implantable drug pump.

The pump will be merged with the Intarcia's Medici Drug Delivery system. With this, it would ensure the patients to be consistent with the treatment.

As follows, the matchstick-size mini-pump is embedded in the skin under the dermal layer. The trained physicians will handle the procedure. The pump can work six or 12 months supply of the drug.

The CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Sue Desmond-Hellmann, said, "There's a vital need for an HIV/AIDS intervention that allows those at risk to incorporate prevention more easily into their daily lives." The cash is part of the $1.5 billion fund created by the Gates Foundation to invest in technologies developed by the private sectors that help the foundation's mission.

Executive Director of AVAC, which is a global HIV advocacy that is supported by the Gates Foundation, Mitchell Warren said that, "This is one of the most exciting years ever in HIV prevention," according to  FOX News.

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