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Friday, December 2, 2016

High School Students Recreate $750 HIV Medication For Only $2

[Source] Martin Shkreli, otherwise known as Pharma Bro, made headlines last year when he upped the price of the HIV drug Daraprim by almost 4,000% in a day.

Knowing this drug was necessary to save many people’s lives, it appeared Shkreli had done this for no other reason than to profit off of other’s desperation, but a group of school boys in Sydney, Australia have found a way to recreate the major ingredient in the drug for only $2.

Alice Williamson, a postdoctoral fellow in chemistry from the University of Sydney, teamed up with a local high school to help oversee science projects.

That’s when she had the idea to see if she could get the boys she was coaching to make the medicine for much cheaper. It would be an exciting project with real world application and consequences.

To start the project, boys at Sydney Grammar School, recreated the active ingredient of Daraprim, pyrimethamine, by ordering 17 grams of 2,4-chlorophenyl acetonitrile to kickstart their project.

This chemical can be purchased online for just $36.50 for 100 grams.

Although the boys had access to the patent method, it involved using reagents that were too dangerous for a high school chemistry lab.

Because of this, the boys had to find a way to recreate the drug using raw ingredients, creating both a financial and physical challenge.

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