Thursday, May 19. 2011
Researchers at Children's Hospital in Boston announced on Monday that they have developed a microbicide that can prevent HIV transmission.
Research was conducted by the Immune Disease Institute and the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the hospital, and piloted by Lee Adam Wheeler and Judy Lieberman. The study used a topical microbicide that employs interferring RNA, small pieces of RNA that can silence the expression of individual genes, to prevent infection.
Lieberman is hopeful that this particular method will prove more effective than other preventative strategies.
"The problem with most topical methods for preventing sexual transmission of disease is that you have to use them just before having sex, and compliance is a huge issue," she said. "But our laboratory results show... that we could create a stable viral-resistant state where one would only have to apply the agent every couple of weeks."
Researchers predict positive long-term effects in mice and note that the technology could be used to prevent the spread of other sexually transmitted diseases, including the human papilloma virus.
Such preventative measures could have a profound impact on the health insurance costs that are related to treating sexually transmitted diseases.
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