February 14, 2009 12:24:43 pm
A vaginal gel,intended to prevent HIV infection,has shown encouraging signs of success in the “first human clinical trial” in women,scientists have claimed.
An international team has found the microbicide gel,known as PRO 2000,to be safe and nearly 30 per cent effective in preventing male-to-female sexual of HIV infection in their study,involving over 3,000 women in the US and Africa.
Lead researcher Salim S Abdool Karim of Center for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa said: “The study,while not conclusive,provides a glimmer of hope to millions of women at risk for HIV. It provides the first signal that a microbicide gel may be able to protect women from HIV.”
In fact,the study,known as HPTN 035,began in 2005 and enrolled 3,099 women at six sites in Africa and one in the United States.
The clinical trial tested two candidate microbicide gels for safety and their ability to prevent HIV infection: PRO 2000 (0.5 percent dose),and BufferGel (ReProtect Inc.,Baltimore).
Participants reported regular use of the gels (81 percent of sex acts) and nearly all (99 per cent) said they would use the products if approved for HIV prevention. Condom usage was also high throughout the course of the trial.
In the final analysis,194 women in the study became infected with HIV. Of these infections,36 occurred in the PRO 2000 group,54 in the BufferGel group,51 in the placebo group and 53 in those who did not use gel.
Based on these data,PRO 2000 was 30 per cent effective,while BufferGel had no detectable preventive effect on HIV infection,the ‘ScienceDaily’ reported.
“Although more data are needed to conclusively determine whether PRO 2000 protects women from HIV infection,the results of this study are encouraging. An effective microbicide would be a valuable tool women could use to protect themselves against HIV and one that could substantially reduce the number of new HIV infections worldwide,” said Anthony S Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,which funded the study.
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