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NIH backs UW effort to RESTRICT the spread of HIV

By Andy Freeberg
December 17, 2020

Pills labeled PrEP spill out of a pill bottle

With a newly awarded $3.8 million project from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), UW researchers are continuing development of the REverSe TRanscrIptase Chain Termination (RESTRICT) assay, a test designed to improve the ability of patients and healthcare providers to monitor medication levels in order to reduce the impact and spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

There are currently more than 30 million people around the world who take medication to combat HIV. This includes both antiretroviral therapy (ART) medications that reduce and control HIV in those living with the virus, as well as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) medications that help to keep people at risk from contracting HIV in the first case.

But like any medication, these treatments are only effective if the person taking them follows their prescription as directed. The goal of RESTRICT is to provide a simple, effective and inexpensive test that will make it easier for patients and clinics to monitor PrEP and ART medication levels. Unlike current tests, these will be available for routine use right at the point of care, even in smaller and more remote clinics.

The team, led by UW’s Jonathan Posner, professor of mechanical engineering and chemical engineering, and Paul Drain, associate professor of global health and medicine (Allergy & Infectious Diseases), will spend five years developing, calibrating and validating RESTRICT, including working locally with a major PrEP clinic in Seattle.

Find out more

For a detailed description of RESTRICT, watch this seminar by ME acting assistant professor Ayokunle Olanrewaju

Further project information is available from NIH.