While condom use remains the most effective protection against sexual transmission of HIV, it is clear that in many parts of the world women are not empowered to insist on it.
The urgent need for novel strategies to block HIV-1 transmission is being recognised by an Europe-wide consortium, the European Microbicides Project (EMPRO) led by King’s College London and funded by the European Commission.
The project aims to develop new products, called microbicides, containing molecules that block the virus’ ability to attach itself to the genital mucosal surfaces. With HIV infection soaring and the absence of a protective vaccine these products are urgently needed.
Professor Charles Kelly of King’s College London’s Dental Institute says: ‘This international collaboration provides much varied expertise and we hope to exploit this to full potential. This is a relatively new field and we have high hopes for the development of these alternative approaches to preventing HIV infection.’
The ideal microbicide should fulfil three criteria:
Professor Kelly is coordinating the project with Dr Robin Shattock of St Georges Hospital Medical School.
Ruth Francis | alfa
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