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Gel Blocks HIV Spread

by Lisa M. Jarvis
July 26, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 30

Researchers at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna reported progress in preventing the spread of HIV last week. The biggest news was that a microbiocidal gel containing 1% tenofovir, an antiretroviral drug, helped lower the risk of contracting HIV and genital herpes. In a study of 889 South African women at high risk of contracting HIV, the gel was 39% effective at stopping the spread of HIV infection during sex and 51% effective in preventing genital herpes infection. If results can be replicated, the gel could prevent some 500,000 new infections in South Africa alone over the next decade, say investigators from South Africa’s Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research, which conducted the trial. Gilead Sciences, which sells tenofovir under the trade name Viread, donated the bulk active ingredient for the trials. Separately, ViiV Healthcare, the HIV drug joint venture between Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline, said it will allow generic drug manufacturers in the neediest countries free access to the patents covering all of the compounds in its portfolio and pipeline. Included in the open-access program is S/GSK1349572, a novel integrase inhibitor being developed by ViiV and Shionogi. The companies unveiled promising Phase II trial results in Vienna.


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