Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) are responsible for two of the major global human infectious diseases that result in significant morbidity, mortality and socioeconomic impact. Furthermore, severity and disease prevention of both infections is enhanced by co-infection. Parallel limitations also exist in access to effective drug therapy and the emergence of resistance. Furthermore, drug-drug interactions have proven problematic during treatment of co-incident HIV and TB infections. Thus, improvements in drug access and simplified treatment regimens are needed immediately. One of the key host cells infected by both HIV and TB is the mononuclear phagocyte (MP; monocyte, macrophage and dendritic cell). Therefore, we hypothesized that one way this can be achieved is through drug-targeting by a nanoformulated drug that ideally would be active against both HIV and TB. Accordingly, we validated macrophage targeted long acting (sustained drug release) gallium (Ga) nanoformulation against HIV-mycobacterium co-infection. The multi-targeted Ga nanoparticle agent inhibited growth of both HIV and TB in the macrophage. The Ga nanoparticles reduced the growth of mycobacterium and HIV for up to 15 days following single drug loading. These results provide a potential new approach to treat HIV-TB co-infection that could eventually lead to improved clinical outcomes.
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