The transmission of HIV from mother to child during the birthing process can be largely prevented by antiretroviral drugs such as Nevirapine (NVP) or Zidovudine (AZT). However, in order to be effective the child must receive the medication within 72 hours of birth; preferably within 24 hours. In Sub-Saharan Africa, many clinics have the drug, but a large percentage of mothers deliver at home. This leaves millions of children at risk of becoming HIV+ during the birthing process or during breastfeeding. In the past, it has not been possible to provide NVP to mothers months before delivery because the drug quickly loses potency once placed in a syringe, the most common delivery method.
The Pratt School of Engineering has developed a packaging method that extends the life of the NVP and AZT (or any other liquid formulation antiretroviral) by up to twelve months. The Pratt Pouch is a foilized, polyethylene pouch that resembles a fast-food ketchup pouch in appearance. Local pharmacist fill the pouch with the appropriate pediatric dosage under sanitary conditions and label them according to national guidelines. The filled pouches are distributed during antenatal care visits at district hospitals, clinics and on outreach trips to more rural communities by nurses and healthcare workers.
This novel medicine packaging method has received wide acclaim, including recognition from WHO and USAID.
The Pratt Pouch is now commercially available from Maternova.
The Pratt Pouch has gone through clinical trials in:
- Ecuador (June 2013 – June 2014)
- Zambia (December 2013 – December 2014)
Pratt Pouch Video, created by: Eric Lam (4 Dec. 2013):
*Winner of the 2014 Duke Co-Lab Innovation Stories Challenge Video Contest*
U.S. Global Leadership: Impact on North Carolina (25 Nov. 2013):
Saving Lives at Birth Project Summary (19 Aug. 2013):
Secretary Clinton Delivers Remarks at Saving Lives at Birth Challenge Awards Ceremony (26 Jul. 2011):