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Anti-HIV gel passes Brazil trial

22nd January 2007

20092006_hiv1.jpgA gel which stops the HIV virus from reproducing itself and spreading within the body has passed its first clinical trial in Brazil.

Derived from the algae Dictyota pfaffii, which is found off the coast of Brazil, the gel was found to stop 95% of HIV replication in immune-system cells.

Microbicides like this gel can be used by women to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS without the knowledge of their partner. They will be of particular help in poorer countries where infection rates are rising, but where condom use is not widely accepted by men.

Researchers are planning a second round of tests in February, and hope the gel will become available in seven years.

An affordable version of the treatment would greatly reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS in hotspots like central and southern Africa, they say.

The gel contains dolabelane diterpene, which inhibits two enzymes which are involved in virus replication and the spread of viruses to other cells.

Other microbicides are also in the pipeline in Europe and North America, and may come to market within five years.


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