AIDS Prevention Gel Fails in African Trials
A US pharmaceutical company had developed a gel with the aim of preventing infection from the AIDS virus. However, according to the Medical Research Council of Britain, the trails, which were carried out in Africa, failed.
A vaginal microbicide was tested in 4 African countries on more than 9,000 women to see whether the risk of contracting HIV would reduce. However, the trials have proven to be ineffective as till date no microbicide has conclusively shown to prevent HIV infection.
This quite a setback considering that a small scale trial was undertaken by the US National Institutes of Health where the same gel showed that the risk of HIV infection could be reduced by as much as 30 percent. However, researchers are still treating the outcome of the African trials as a positive outcome as it shows the importance of conducting trials on a large scale to see whether a product works or not.
The outcome of the trials is still a setback for researchers as they have been trying to find a microbicide that could be used by women and maybe men to prevent HIV infection is circumstances where partners were not willing to or could not use a condom to have safe sex.
Worldwide around 60 million people are infected with the HIV virus and another 25 million have died due to AIDS. At the moment, there is no cure for HIV/AIDS. The patients can only be kept healthy using a combination of drugs.
The trials with the new vaginal microbicide were conducted on 9,385 women between September 2005 and September 2009. It was found that the risk of HIV infection in women who used the gel was no different from the women who were given a placebo gel to use.