Today, news about a successful microbicide trial broke in Vienna at the International AIDS Conference – it was just a little too exciting for it to remain embargoed until its planned release date next week.
The Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) has announced that a microbicide it has been testing has shown to be 39% effective in prevention the transmission of HIV to female receptive partners. The microbicide gel contains the drug tenofovir, an antiretroviral drug used widely in the treatment of HIV, and is designed to be used vaginally both before and after penile-vaginal penetration.
Though a number of groups have been developing and testing microbicides over the last decade, there has been little success in human trials and many researchers have become discouraged about the prospects of a successful microbicide. Early in vitro and in vivo trials have had some successes, but the jump to human trials is generally disappointing. The advent and approval of a microbicide gel would mean that women could protect themselves from HIV without a barrier method, which often requires the cooperation of a male partner.
The full study is due to be published in the journal Science tomorrow.