Project Title: Taste masking of selected antiretroviral drugs through microencapsulation using proteins and polysaccharides for paediatric dosage form formulation application
Host Organisation: University of the Western Cape, South Africa
It is estimated that over 1.8 million children are living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), with the majority residing in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to a 2017 Paediatric ARV Drug Optimization Review from the World Health Organization (WHO), poor adherence to treatment can be mainly ascribed to the lack of child-friendly formulations. Child-friendly formulations posses sufficient palatability, swallowability and dispensability. The biggest challenges with formulating child-friendly ARV products are that ARVs are extremely bitter tasting. Taste masking is problematic, even sweet-tasting liquid formulations still have bitter after tastes. Liquid formulations are also very bulky and cannot be transported and stored easily. If container breakage occur the whole/partial prescribed ARV supply is lost. Granules, in the form of sprinkles have been investigated as a solution. This allow the drugs to be mixed with food or drink, however once the sprinkles start to dissolve the bitter taste is also released. This project will aim to microencapsulate the ARV drugs through forming a capsule wall that is insoluble in food and drink (juice or milk). Non-allergenic proteins will be used as wall formers whilst a natural sugar will be used as a drug containing matrix. Allowing the formulation of a palatable, swallowable, easily dispensable/administrable product containing ARV drugs. More importantly, these microcapsules will be formulated using natural, non-allergenic, sustainable, cost-effective ingredients. The success of this research will assist Africa in the treatment of its future, namely its children and will positively impact the sustainable and affordable global health challenge.