Experimental anti-HIV gel increased infection rates

 作者:闾士     |      日期:2019-03-02 08:19:01
By New Scientist and Reuters Trials of a new type of gel designed to help women protect themselves from HIV were halted on Wednesday after women using it became infected by the virus at a higher rate than women not using it, researchers said. The trials involved 1333 women in South Africa, Benin, Uganda and India. The microbicide gel apparently made the women more vulnerable to the virus, not less vulnerable as intended, said its makers Polydex Pharmaceuticals, based in Toronto, Canada. The microbicide, developed under the brand name Ushercell, is a cotton-based compound that had been tested in more than 500 women without any indication it raised the risk of HIV infection. A second group testing the same compound has also stopped its trials in 1700 women in Nigeria, out of concern for the women, although there was no suggestion the women in this trial were becoming infected at a higher-than-expected rate. Women in both trials who become infected with HIV will be given drugs to control it, the researchers say. “While the findings are unexpected and disappointing, we will learn scientifically important information from this trial that will inform future HIV prevention research,” said Lut Van Damme, who was leading the trial of the Polydex product. It is the second spectacular failure of a microbicide gel or a cream designed for women to use vaginally to prevent infection with HIV. Microbicides were hailed as an important new weapon in HIV prevention (see Protect and survive). Trials of the spermicide nonoxynol-9 were stopped after it was found to raise the risk of HIV infection, although it is still unclear why the product did not work. Three other products are also in advanced trials, including products based on a seaweed derivative called carrageenan (see Seaweed compound blocks cervical cancer virus) Shares in Polydex Pharmaceuticals plunged on the news of the trials’ failure, wiping 55% off the share price by the close of trading on Wednesday. More on these topics: