Chinese scientists are designing a gel containing an experimental drug which they hope can reduce HIV infections in women.
The search for this “HIV-inhibitor” or prophylaxis is gaining urgency in China as studies show that HIV infections are rising sharply among Chinese women, with sex becoming the number one mode of HIV transmission.
According to Chen Zhiwei, director of the AIDS Institute at the University of Hong Kong, the gel acts as an “entry inhibitor” by blocking the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from gaining entry into host cells.
He added that the experimental treatment drug used in this gel has passed animal tests and a small safety test in people.
Chen, along with his colleagues, is now preparing to convert it into a microbicide (in gel form) that is inserted into the vagina or rectum before sex to prevent transmission of HIV, which causes AIDS.
This Chinese experimental gel will undergo three clinical trials, with the last taking place in an area with high HIV incidence rates.