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Scientists Begin First Trial Of HIV Prevention Drug

HIV prevention drug
The International Partnership for Microbicides, has announced the initiation of the first clinical trial to test a vaginal microbicide containing DS003, a novel antiretroviral drug for the prevention of sexual transmission of HIV in women.

The study and trail which will take place in Belgium according to a statement by the IPM will evaluate the safety and tolerability of the ARV-based women’s health technology.

Scientists said that the results of the trial, which is known as IPM 042, will inform the development of future DS003-based products, such as a long-acting vaginal ring.

The physicians define DS003 as a novel gp120 binding inhibitor that acts early in the HIV life cycle, blocking the virus’s ability to enter a healthy cell.

The Chief Executive Officer of IPM, Dr. Zeda Rosenberg, stated that DS003 has significant potential to prevent infection of drug-resistant HIV.

Rosenberg said, “DS003 is a potent new ARV that opens up new opportunities in HIV prevention research. This study broadens IPM’s portfolio and moves the field one step closer to offering women a range of potential products they can use to protect their sexual and reproductive health.”

The product being tested in IPM 042 is a vaginal tablet whose small size could be an advantage in settings with limited storage capacity. Once in place, the tablet breaks down to release DS003. Vaginal tablets containing tenofovir and emtricitabine have also been studied in an early-stage clinical trial.

Importantly, IPM is exploring the development of other DS003-based products, including vaginal rings with DS003 alone and in combination with ARVs in different classes, such as dapivirine, a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor that prevents HIV from replicating after entering a healthy cell. By attacking HIV at different points in its life cycle, such combination products may offer greater protection against the virus over time. In addition, vaginal rings can slowly release the active drugs over a month or longer, potentially leading to greater ease-of-use.

Need for new HIV prevention technologies for women

Despite progress in reducing new HIV infections worldwide, women and girls continue to bear a disproportionate burden of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In sub-Saharan Africa, young women and adolescent girls ages 15 to 24 are at least twice as likely to be infected as their male counterparts.

“To overcome the epidemic, women need product options they can use to keep HIV at bay and take control of their own health,” said Dr. Annalene Nel, chief medical officer of IPM. “New female-initiated tools, including microbicides and multipurpose prevention technologies, are especially needed in regions such as

New tools such as microbicides are being developed because stopping HIV’s spread among women requires a range of options that meet their individual needs. The only microbicide now in late-stage trials is the dapivirine vaginal ring, which is designed to provide sustained protection against HIV over the course of a month. The first efficacy results for the ring, developed by IPM, are expected in early 2016.

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