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International trial of HIV microbicides begins (15133)

15133Health News2005-02-15

International trial of HIV microbicides begins

A large multisite clinical trial designed to examine the safety and preliminary effectiveness of two candidate topical microbicides to prevent HIV infection began last week, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is coordinating the trial. Researchers hope these experimental topical compounds will help women protect themselves against sexually acquired HIV infections. "The majority of new cases of HIV infection in women result from heterosexual intercourse, but women may not always be able to insist that their male partners use measures to prevent HIV transmission," says NIAID director Anthony S. Fauci in a press statement. "If effective, microbicides would be a valuable woman-controlled means of slowing the pace of the HIV/AIDS epidemic."

The first volunteers were enrolled last week in Durban, South Africa, and at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Enrollment will begin shortly in Malawi, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. Approximately 3,220 women will be enrolled in the trial, which is expected to last about 30 months. The microbicides to be tested are PRO 2000 and BufferGel. Produced by Indevus Pharmaceuticals, PRO 2000 has shown activity against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in both laboratory and animal testing. It is believed to act by inhibiting the entry of HIV and other pathogens into body cells. BufferGel, a product of ReProtect, boosts the natural acidity of the vagina in the presence of seminal fluid. An acidic environment inactivates HIV as well as other pathogens.

For more information about the clinical trial go online to

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