US-based Kenyan scientist develops world’s first take-once-a-year ARV

Prof Benson Edagwa of University of Nebraska. [Photo courtesy]

A US-based Kenyan scientist at the University of Nebraska Prof Benson Edagwa has broken the record with his invention of the world’s prototype of antiretroviral (ARV) drug to be taken once-a-year.

Together with Prof Howard Gendelman, they have tested the new drug that has undergone several tests on mice and non-human privates. The results are that it is safe.

According to Nature Materials, a leading medical journal where the all the science on the drug was published on Monday, the two professors modified cabotegravir (CAB) which is the parent drug that inhibits the virus from “inserting it’s genetic material into human cells”. 

The now modified drug allows the body’s enzymes to “slowly convert the modified drug into an active form, the drug can be slowly released from tissue stores”.

The beauty about this new drug which will be injected into the body once a year will eliminate all complications that could arise over “missing doses”.

Prof Edagwa’s new formulation could also be used as a vaccine against HIV.

Prof Edagwa developed the formulation with Prof Gendelman who is a virologist and head’s the university’s Medical School Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience.

The 37-year-old professor who is a former Moi University Bachelor of Science in Chemistry graduate is an assistant professor at UNMC.

The University of Nebraska said that while conducting trials on the drug, no side effects were shown by the recipients.

“To date, no adverse side effects have been demonstrated in any of the animal testing models,” the University of Nebraska Medical School said in a statement.

“Human testing has not begun, but the development necessary to achieve this goal is ongoing with the assistance of scientists from the Clinton Health Access Initiative,” UNMC added.

UNMC is now working on obtaining approval by the US Food and Drug Administration to have the drug in the market