A new gel protecting women from HIV infections
According to a study being presented at International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria, a new gel that helps women to protect from HIV infection has been discovered. The gel contains tenofovir a drug that is antiretroviral and stops the virus from multiplying. This is considered to be a very effective microbicide that could help the fight against HIV.
“Women represent the majority of new HIV infections globally, and urgently need methods they can control to protect themselves from infection,” said Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, part of the Centers for Disease Control.
The CAPRISA trial which is going for two years and six months, followed 900 sexually active South African women who are HIV negative and between the age 18 and 40 to find out how save and effective the new gel was against HIV infection.
Scientists have found that the gel decreases the infection by 50 percent after one year and 39 percent after 30 months. On women who use the gel constantly the infection was reduced by 54 percent. This research discovered that the gel can decrease the risk of genital herpes by 51 percent.
This is the first time that an antiretroviral microbicide test was finished. In a faze called the double blind which is a random control trial, the women were split in half and, the first got the tenofovir gel and the second half got a placebo. This test helped the researchers to develop new antiretroviral microbicide based medicines in the future.
The antiretroviral can prevent dangerous viruses like HIV from spreading and destroying the immune system.
Another study that was presented at the conference discovered that 300,000 to 600,000 new infections in a period of ten years can be prevented with a microbicide that is effective up to 50 percent.
Tenofovir is under market license of Gilead Sciences under the name of Viread. It is under a class of medicine called reverse transcriptase inhibitors. This class doesn’t kill the virus but it will slow it down and stopping the virus from growing which in time will make the progression of the disease slow.
This is not yet for world wide use, but the discovery is a big step in microbicides, said D.r Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.
“The results of the CAPRISA study are important and of considerable significance for the field of microbicides,” Fauci said. “This is the first study that has shown a clear-cut positive effect of a microbicide on blocking acquisition of HIV infection.
“It is noteworthy that this is the first completed study that utilized a specific antiretroviral drug in the formulation. The important goal for the immediate future is to improve upon these results, however it is clear that this is a conceptual advance.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considered that the results are a breakthrough and a clear step forward.
“While these findings may need to be confirmed by other research to meet requirements for licensure by FDA and other regulatory bodies throughout the world, they suggest that we could soon have a new method to help reduce the heavy toll of HIV among women around the world,” said the CDC’s Fenton.
“It is also very encouraging that the study found that the microbicide significantly reduced the risk of genital herpes (HSV-2), which is common in developing countries and in the United States, and facilitates HIV transmission.”
In another test called “pre-exposure prophylaxis” the CDC studies if the antiretroviral pills could avoid HIV infection. This study is made on an exposed to HIV infection category of people including gay men, drug users and heterosexuals. The result will be final and shown to the public probably next year.11