ASM Logo One of the most effective measures to restrict HIV in women seems to be the application of preventative vaginal gel. A groundbreaking research suggests that the new vaginal microbicide gel and drug formulation helps women in developing countries to guard themselves from HIV during intercourse, without having to inform their partners. The research findings apparently have major implications in the health-space.

HIV infection, a major risk for women in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia reportedly affects more women as they have little control due to unequal gender status over much of those regions. Experts believe that the newly introduced gel is cost-friendly and safe as well as effective. The research has also designed a drug named IQP-0528 that may inhibit the virus’ ability to enter human cells and reverse transcription of the virus’ genome into the host genome. Hampering the ability of the virus can supposedly help in averting productive infection of the cell.

As a part of the research, several candidate drugs were examined and tested for chemical stability, pH values, etc. All these tests appear necessary for the formulation to be stable at ambient temperatures of sub-Saharan Africa, as refrigeration is not widely available in much of that region. Robert Buckheit, of ImQuest BioSciences, of Frederick, MD., and colleagues are conducting further investigations to come up with a variety of options for drug, gel, and device formulations.

The research is published in the April 2011 issue of the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.