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Some HIV microbiocides may increase chance of infection

Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have devised a laboratory test for predicting whether microbicides against HIV are safe for human use. The researchers have also discovered why several supposedly "safe" microbicides made women more susceptible to HIV infection. The study appears today in the online version of the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Several microbicide gels have been assessed in clinical trials after passing laboratory and animal safety tests. But with just one exception, all the microbicides were found to be ineffective against HIV; and two of the gels — nonoxynol-9 and cellulose sulfate — actually increased the risk of HIV infection in women.

"Our findings strongly suggest that microbicides can increase the risk of HIV infection through a mechanism other that inflammation — namely, by disrupting the protective epithelial cell barrier," says Dr. Herold. "If confirmed by further study, this assay should be used early on to screen for microbicide safety before advancing a product to clinical trials involving thousands of women," she adds.

- via press release from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
 
 

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