Jordanian develops once-a-year HIV-1 treatment

(Photo: Handout from Yazen Alnouti)
(Photo: Handout from Yazen Alnouti)
IRBID — Social media platforms are awash with posts about Jordan University of Science and Technology’s Yazen Alnouti, who marked a milestone in the fight against HIV-1.اضافة اعلان

Set to be administered to patients annually (as opposed to daily), Alnouti’s breakthrough aims at revolutionizing the way HIV-1 patients are treated.   

Prior to moving to the United States, Alnouti was a resident of Kafr Sawm, a village in Irbid governorate.

His ambition and desire to participate in the development of the pharmaceutical industry led him to Nebraska. During his time in the US, he worked at the Pfizer Pharmaceutical Factory and graduated with a PhD from the University of Georgia. Today, he is a senior lecturer at the University of Nebraska in pharmacology and drug manufacturing.

“A group of my professors encouraged me and insisted that I go to the US to pursue a career in pharmaceutical manufacturing. They believed in me and saw the potential that I have,” Alnouti said in a phone interview with Jordan News.  

"It is important for everyone to realize that AIDS medications have existed since the eighties and are available to all patients who need them, but the problem is that those suffering from the disease need to take medication daily for the rest of their lives,” added Alnouti. “Once the patient stops taking their medication, the symptoms of the disease reappear, causing the patient’s health to decline.”

During the interview, Alnouti quashed rumors surrounding his attainment of a patent for the HIV-1 treatment.

“What I did was I developed and advanced existing studies on AIDS medication for the purpose of ridding patients of the need to take it every day,” he said. “Indeed, teamwork has managed to develop the drug so that its effect lasts for a whole year and perhaps two years without the need to commit to taking it daily.”

As for the patent, he added, "We haven't applied for the patent yet, but we will soon do so."

According to Alnouti, these studies are distributed as projects to teams of pharmacologists. Alnouti heads one of the teams working on this project, which has been ongoing since 2008. During its trial stages, the drug was tested on aminals, and the final stage was tested on monkeys. Alnouti’s team is awaiting approval to test the drug on humans following its success on animals.

“We can say that at this stage that the drug will not only be for treatment, but also for prevention,” he said.

Al-Nouti’s work is not limited to this project. He has taken part in similar ongoing projects, the most important of which is his research on the detection of patients who are in immediate need of a liver transplant. As demand exceeds what is available for liver transplant patients, scientists have been forced to search for ways to help them prioritize patients. Alnouti, along with his team, was able to reach a conclusion through analyzing a urine sample.

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