New research has achieved a proof of principle that an investigatory microbicide gel is highly effective at preventing vaginal transmission of HIV, ScienceDaily Reports. Scientists from the European Combined Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Microbicides (CHAARM) Consortium published their study of non-human primates in the Open Access journal of PLOS Pathogens.

The researchers engineered peptides known as “miniCD4s” that mimic the CD4 co-receptor HIV binds to before entering the immune cell. The peptides succeed in preventing transmission by effectively becoming a decoy the virus binds to instead of to the body’s cells. After studying the miniCD4s’ efficacy in a petri dish and in tissue models that mimic mucous membranes, researchers formulated a 0.3 percent microbicide gel and inserted it into the vaginas of six cynomolgus macaques monkeys an hour before then inserting a high dose of HIV. While that dose of the virus would ordinarily infect all the monkeys, in this case it only infected one.

To read the ScienceDaily article, click here.

To read the study, click here.