Chenjie Xu of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore will develop a stable and child-friendly formulation of the antibiotic amoxicillin, which is used to treat pneumonia, for use in developing countries. Amoxicillin is unstable in water, and for oral delivery requires on-site mixing with sterile water, which is not always available. They will first encapsulate amoxicillin in microparticles, which become soluble only when exposed to an acidic environment such as in the stomach. The microparticles also help increase the concentration of amoxicillin and mask its unpleasant taste. These amoxicillin particles will next be embedded in a gel-like sodium carboxymethyl cellulose solution to protect and stabilize the formulation for long-term storage, which will be in squeezable tubes. The squeezing action from the tube into a child's mouth will transform the gel into an easy to swallow liquid (a process known as thixotropy) that will release amoxicillin upon exposure to acid in the stomach. They will try different concentrations to build the most favorable formulation and test it for effective delivery in mice.
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