New Drug Capsule that may allow Weekly HIV Treatment

Researchers at MIT in collaboration with Brigham and Women's Hospital have developed a capsule that can provide a week's worth of HIV drugs in a single dose. According to the press release by MIT, patients can take the newly designed capsule once a week and drug will run gradually throughout the week.


Traditional doses of the capsule were often forgotten by the patients. The new capsule will adhere patients to comply with their treatment schedule. It can be also used by the people who have the risk of becoming infected.

Courtsey of Researchers at MIT

According to the researcher Giovanni Traverso, " One of the main barriers to treating and preventing HIV is adherence." The capsule will make a significant impact on better adherence to the patients.


The capsule comprises a star-shaped structure with six arms that can be loaded with drugs, folded inward, and encased in a smooth coating. After swallowing the capsule, the arms unfold and gradually release their cargo.

In the previous study, the researchers discovered that the capsules could remain in the stomach up to two weeks releasing the malaria drug ivermectin. After that. researchers set out to test the capsule to deliver HIV drugs.


The original version was the star shape and made from one polymer that both helps in structural support and support the drug payload. It led difficulty to design new capsules that could release drugs at varying rates. To overcome the shortcomings, the researchers created a newer version of a design that consists the backbone of the star structure with a strong polymer, but each of the six arms can be filled with various drug-loaded polymer. This help to design a capsule that releases drugs at various rates.


The new and improved tools for HIV treatment and prevention, along with a broad implementation of existing approaches, are needed to end the HIV pandemic. The researchers are also figuring out the capsules that can last longer in the body.