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Biologicals. 2006 Dec;34(4):241-55. Epub 2006 Nov 13.

Microbicides: a new frontier in HIV prevention.

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Center for Prevention Research, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, 10940 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1250, Los Angeles, CA 90025, USA.


Microbicides are products that can be applied to vaginal or rectal mucosal surfaces with the goal of preventing, or at least significantly reducing, the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV-1. Despite more than two decades of HIV-1 vaccine research, there is still no efficacious HIV-1 vaccine, and the scientific community appears skeptical about the short or long-term feasibility of developing a vaccine that has the ability to induce sterilizing immunity against HIV-1. In this setting, microbicide research has gathered momentum. Currently, 16 candidate microbicides are in clinical development and five products are being evaluated in large-scale Phase 2B/3 effectiveness studies. Initial data from these trials will be available within the next 2-3 years, and it is feasible that there could be one or more licensed microbicides by the end of the decade. The first generation of surfactant microbicides had a non-specific mechanism of action. However, subsequent candidate microbicides have been developed to target specific steps in the process of viral transmission. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of microbicide development and an update on the candidate pipeline.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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