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  4th IAS (Intl AIDS Society) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention
Sydney, Australia
22-25 July 2007
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Microbicide Viva Gel could stop HIV and herpes
  July 24, 2007 06:23pm
AN experimental sex lubricant designed by Australian researchers could help block both HIV and genital herpes, a study suggests.
Tests on lab animals have shown that the microbicide gel, called Viva Gel, inactivates the HIV virus and another responsible for genital herpes.
Lead researcher Dr Jeremy Paull from Melbourne-based pharmaceutical company Starpharma told the International AIDS Society conference in Sydney the gel would be used by heterosexual men who apply it directly to themselves before sex.
It would be most useful in sub-Saharan African nations where the HIV epidemic is mostly seen among heterosexuals.
The active ingredient in the microbicide is dendrimer, a molecule which binds itself to the viruses and prevents them from infecting healthy cells, Dr Paull said.
Recent trials on animals have shown it is between 85 and 100 per cent effective at blocking both viruses.
Safety trials of the gel are now underway in humans. The first results, presented at the congress, show it is safe and well tolerated in healthy men, uncircumcised or not.
Dr Paull said the gel's ability to prevent genital herpes was particularly positive.
"The prevention of herpes indication, given the level of the epidemic in the developed world, perhaps gives us a different angle," he said.
The gel was described as "unique" by Roberta Black from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who chaired the conference session.
"I believe it may be unique in terms of development for two different indications, both genital herpes and HIV," Dr Black said.
The gel is currently being trialled on women as a contraceptive. Share this article (What is this?)