More new and exciting news from the medical field. Yesterday we published news about how DNA shed by tumors can be the key to non-invasive cancer screening and prognosis and today, a new study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine reveals a new vaginal gel could protect women against HIV, even if the gel is applied hours after having sex. The research team was led by scientists from the CDCP (Centers for Disease Control and Protection) and was performed on monkeys.
New Vaginal Gel Could Protect Women Against HIV
This microbicide gel contains antiretroviral drugs that block the cells to get infected with the HIV virus. Before, such gels were created but they needed to be applied before sex, which meant that compliance was reduced, but now researches have created a microbicide gel that contains integrase inhibitors, which are basically antiretroviral drugs, that will block the infection of cells after the HIV virus presents itself – which means that the gel can be applied after sexual intercourse.
The DNA of the HIV virus enters the DNA of the cells at around 6 hours after initial infection. The gel has raltegravir antiretroviral drug, in 1% and what it does is blocks this process of infection.
Walid Heneine, the author of the study, said that the appliance of the gel after sex would improve acceptability and encourage the women to use it much more effectively.
The gel was testes on thirteen female macaque monkeys. Three of them received the gel treatment thirty minutes before exposure to HIV and the rest of ten were given a placebo gel for twice weekly for seven weeks. After the study ended, two monkeys who were given the microbicide gel tested HIV negative and only one of the ten placebo monkeys remained HIV free.
Another test was done, this time the gel was applied three hours after exposure to HIV with six monkeys receiving the antiretroviral gel, while four were given a placebo twice weekly for 10 weeks. The gel protected five out of the six monkeys from getting infected with HIV, while all monkeys who got the placebo were infected.
The researchers believe that they still need to improve the gel, before beginning human clinical trials, but the results so far are extremely promising. A new vaginal gel could protect women against HIV, which means that HIV could finally start to be eradicated.