One of the world’s largest food and beverage companies is launching a new initiative to help children all over the world.
Pepsi is teaming up with the nonprofit TB alliance to engineer new flavors to counteract the bitter taste found in tuberculosis drugs.
The company will, “apply proprietary flavor and sensory expertise,” to help develop strategies that can hopefully solve the bitter taste issue. Pepsi won’t receive any financial payments for these efforts whereas the TB Alliance will have free access to the results of this program applying it to its drug development efforts, according to the announcement.
“At PepsiCo, we saw a unique opportunity to leverage our R&D talent and flavor expertise to help improve the palatability of certain TB medicines,” said Pepsi’s Dr. Mehmood Khan, the vice chairman and chief scientific officer of Global Research and Development.
“In collaboration with the TB Alliance team and others, we are hopeful that we can identify formulation changes that will make it easier for caregivers to administer TB medicines to children. Our work together has the potential to significantly improve the care and well-being of many TB patients and move us one step closer to the goal of eradicating TB in children,” Khan added.
The formulation process for tuberculosis drugs is intended for adults, making them difficult to swallow and unpleasant for kids, wrote The New York Times. Parents are recommended to try to crush the pills and mix them into applesauce to disguise the taste, but it has the adverse effect of turning kids off from these treats.
Tuberculosis is the leading infectious cause of death worldwide with 1 million children getting diagnosed with TB each year and 210,000 children succumb to it, according to statistics from The World Health Organization, emphasizing how important it is in seeking a solution to boost adherence with this medication.