Saturday, August 9, 2008


NEW ORLEANS (UPI) -- The use of vaginal microbicide gels may help protect women against sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, U.S. researchers said.

Ronald S. Veazey of Tulane National Primate Research Center in New Orleans successfully used vaginal gels containing the fusion inhibitory peptide T-1249 to protect rhesus macaque monkeys against vaginal transmission of multiple strains of simian/human HIV, or SHIV.

The study, published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that vaginal microbicide containing fusion inhibitors remain a potential method for protecting women against infection by HIV type 1 during sexual intercourse.

"Here we have shown that the vaginal application of gel-formulated T-1249 can protect rhesus macaques from infection by three different SHIV challenge viruses," the researchers said in a statement. "The protection we observed was dose-dependent and at the higher concentration, robust, in that all the test animals resisted infection."

Fusion inhibitors such as T-1249 operate to inhibit infection by preventing glycoprotein molecules on HIV particles from binding to their receptors on the surface of the immune cell. The T-1249 peptide is a fusion inhibitor that targets one of the main cellular receptors that HIV uses to infect cells in the mucosal surface.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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