The study, published online October 30 in the journal Nature, represents the first successful testing of combination microbicides in a primate model.
Women make up nearly half of all people living with HIV worldwide, and a vast majority of new cases of HIV infection in women result from heterosexual intercourse. "This study demonstrates that combination microbicides are feasible," says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "We need to build on these promising animal studies and move toward establishing the safety and effectiveness of combination microbicides in women."
Vaginal microbicides include creams, gels or other substances that could be applied topically to prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. At least five different candidate microbicides currently are being evaluated in large clinical trials, but no microbicide has yet been approved for human use.
The Nature study was led by John P. Moore, Ph.D., of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City, and Ronald S. Veazey, D.V.M., Ph.D., of the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington, LA. For the experiments, they used simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV), a hybrid virus made in the laboratory from HIV and its cousin, SIV, which infects only non-human primates. The researchers tested three microbicide gels alone and in combination. Two contained small molecules and the third featured a modified assembly of protein buildin
Contact: Kathy Stover
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases