PepsiCo & TB Alliance partner to improve tuberculosis drug taste

The bitter taste of TB drugs can result in poor compliance among children. Pic:iStock/iLexx

PepsiCo and TB Alliance are partnering to improve the bitter and unpleasant taste of today’s tuberculosis (TB) treatments - important in the treatment of children.

The poor taste of many drugs can result in low tolerance and poor compliance, especially among children.

PepsiCo will use its flavor and sensory expertise to develop strategies that counter bitter tastes.

It has been developing ways to reduce added sugar, sodium and saturated fat levels in its food and beverage portfolio – while still maintaining good taste - and says this expertise will help in its project with TB Alliance.

PepsiCo will not be paid for its part in the collaboration. TB Alliance, a not-for-profit organization which is dedicated to finding better cures for TB, will have free access to use the results as it develops new drugs and treatments.

Dr.Mel Spigelman, president and CEO of the TB Alliance, said: "No child should die of TB. The poor taste of drugs, particularly of MDR-TB treatments which often need to be taken for longer than a year, is a critical issue to tackle and to improve treatment for children.”

TB is the top infectious cause of death worldwide. In 2015, 10.4 million people fell ill and 1.8 million died as a result of the bacterial infection. Figures from the World Health Organization show that 1 million children become ill each year, and 210,000 die.

Global food and beverage giant PepsiCo is behind brands such as Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Tropicana and Quaker. 

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