A Contraceptive Vaginal Ring Prevents HIV Infection

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A new intravaginal ring, presented at the Annual Meeting and Exposition of 2013 from the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) has contraceptive effects, but also protects against infection of HIV and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2 ). This new system, called, multi-prevention, says Meredith Clark of the School of Medicine West Virginia University in the US can remain in the vagina for up to 90 days and releases the contraceptive levonorgestrel and tenofovir , an antiretroviral which inhibits the replication of HIV and HSV.

The researchers analyzed the effects of the drug release in vitro and pharmacokinetic studies performed of the ring for three months in rabbits and sheep and compared with drug levels observed when tenofovir gel used.

The results found that tenofovir levels in the target tissue administered by the vaginal ring were similar or superior to those obtained after the application of tenofovir gel, a product that has been proven effective in preventing HIV and HSV infections women.

After the trial data, the researchers plan to begin in 2014 in phase I clinical trials in women, in which you can test the combination of drug ring and ring with only tenofovir. Tenofovir is the first microbicide proven to be effective in humans, as evidenced by the CAPRISA 004 trial, in which women using the gel before and after sex were reduced in HIV risk between 39 and 54 percent. This work also showed that the gel is 51% effective in reducing the transmission of herpes virus 2, so that this potentially provides a triple ring protection.

‘The ring TFV/LNG is the first device that is offered as both a contraceptive and preventive against HIV and HSV,’ says Clark, who recalls that the only tenofovir microbicide that has been proven effective in reducing HIV infections when used topically. So she says, ‘it is important to develop a variety of delivery mechanisms tenofovir in order to meet the different needs of women.’

The expert further states that products work only when used. ‘By having a ring that can remain in the body for up to 90 days, our hope is to offer a solution to increase adherence, therefore, provides greater protection against HIV while preventing pregnancy’, says the director of CONRAD Product Development, David Friend.

According to the World Health Organization, there are 35.3 million people living with HIV worldwide with an estimated 87 million unwanted pregnancies.

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