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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 134  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 939-949

Microbicides: A new hope for HIV prevention


Reproductive Cell Biology Laboratory, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Satish K Gupta
Deputy Director, National Institute of Immunology, Chief, Reproductive Cell Biology Laboratory, National Institute of Immunology, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi 110 067
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0971-5916.92639

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Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), causative agent of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), is a global health concern. To control its transmission, safe sex has been proposed as one of the strategies. Microbicides- intravaginal/intrarectal topical formulations of anti-HIV agents have also been proposed to prevent HIV transmission. Microbicides would provide protection by directly inactivating HIV or preventing the attachment, entry or replication of HIV in susceptible target cells as well as their dissemination from target cells present in semen or the host cells lining the vaginal/rectal wall to other migratory cells. Microbicides must be safe, effective following vaginal or rectal administration, and should cause minimal or no genital symptoms or inflammations following long-term repeated usage. However, a safe and efficacious anti-HIV microbicide is not yet available despite the fact that more than 60 candidate agents have been identified to have in vitro activity against HIV, several of which have advanced to clinical testing. Nonetheless, proof-of-concept of microbicides has been established based on the results of recent CAPRISA 004 clinical trials. In this article, the trends and challenges in the development of effective and safe microbicides to combat HIV transmission are reviewed.


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