Researchers will test whether lowering daily doses of antiretroviral medications decreases their effectiveness, The Age reports. The hope is that lower required doses will result in greater access to medication, particularly in developing countries.

According to the article, researchers from the University of New South Wales in Sydney will conduct the study through the university's Evaluation of Novel Concepts in Optimisation of antiRetroviral Efficacy (ENCORE). Funded by an $18 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the study will enroll 700 HIV-positive people worldwide to determine if lower unit doses of antiretroviral drugs could be administered without compromising their effectiveness.

“When people make decisions about doses, they tend to go for something nearer the maximum tolerated dose rather than the minimum effective dose,” says Sean Emery, PhD, of the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research. “A 25 to 33 percent saving on the daily dose would allow you to treat 25 to 33 percent more people.”

The ENCORE study is scheduled for publication by mid-2013.