Friday, October 1, 2010

China experts design gel to protect women from HIV

from Reuters, by Tan Ee Lyn

Scientists in China and Hong Kong are designing a gel containing an experimental drug which they hope can reduce HIV infections in women. The search for such a prophylaxis is gaining urgency in China, with sex becoming the number one mode of HIV transmission and new HIV infections rising sharply among Chinese women.

The gel acts as an "entry inhibitor"-- blocking the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from gaining entry into host cells, Chen Zhiwei, director of the AIDS Institute at the University of Hong Kong, said in an interview. The experimental treatment drug used in this gel has passed animal tests and a small safety test in people, Chen said. Chen and his colleagues are now preparing to convert it into a microbicide - a gel that is inserted into the vagina or rectum before sex to prevent transmission of HIV, which causes AIDS.

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