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Vaginal gel to combat HIV transmission underway

Posted on Dec 08, 01:17PM | UNI

While scientists world over have actively been engaged in developing an effective vaccine to combat the alarming spread of the HIV, a team of European scientists have come out with a vaginal gel that could block the infection for good, according to a study.

The microbicide gel proved to be highly effective to check the AIDS virus in non-human primate model, according to the latest study published in the Open Access Journal PLOS Pathogens on Thursday.

The team led by Dereuddre-Bosquet from the European Combined Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Microbicides (CHAARM) Consortium said that the gel's key ingredient included small peptides engineered to present a decoy to bind up the virus and prevent it from entering and infecting the cells of the body.

The peptides, named 'miniCD4s' as they mimic the CD4 receptor used by HIV to gain entry into immune cells of the body, block HIV entry into isolated cells in a dish and tissue models that mimic mucous membranes which are points of virus entry.

The authors then formulated miniCD4s at 0.3pc in a microbicide gel that was vaginally applied to six female cynomolgus macaques monkeys for one hour before the animals were given a high dose of the virus also in the vagina.