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Microbicide found not to reduce HIV risk, South Africa.

The Population Council has released results of a Phase 3 large-scale effectiveness trial of Carraguard, an odourless, clear-gel microbicide made from carrageenan, a seaweed derivative. The trial enrolled 6,202 participants in three South African sites. The product was safe and acceptable to women, but did not reduce their risk of acquiring HIV. No significant difference was detected in the rate of HIV sero-conversion among women using the test product and those using a placebo gel. Three more products are in Phase 2B/3 trials with results expected in 2009-10. These are PRO 2000 and BufferGel, two first-generation candidates, and an antiretroviral-based, second-generation candidate, a 10% tenofovir gel. Microbicide advocates such as the Global Campaign for Microbicides, the African Microbicides Advocacy Group and the Gender AIDS Forum will continue to work for a safe, effective, accessible and affordable microbicide.

The field of microbicide development needs a variety of candidates in the pipeline. Trial failures may lead to loss of confidence in donors, authorities and trial volunteers, but many people counsel patience, arguing that the development of any new product is necessarily unpredictable. Most agree that microbicide development should continue. (2)

(1.) Results of the phase 3 Carraguard trial. Global Campaign for Microbicides statement. 18 February 2008. At: < carraguard.htm>.

(2.) van der Wigjert JH, Shattock RJ. Vaginal microbicides: moving ahead after an unexpected setback. AIDS 2007;21(18):2369-76.
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Title Annotation:ROUND UP: HIV and AIDS
Publication:Reproductive Health Matters
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:6SOUT
Date:May 1, 2008
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