"I think one of the differences is that all the other products were surface-active. They needed to be on the surface of the vagina sufficiently available and sufficiently well-spread in order to prevent HIV infection," said Salim S. Abdool Karim. "Tenofovir is not surface-active. It goes into cells which HIV will be targeting so it acts at a different point in the pathogenesis process."
In their quest to get the gel on the market and widely used, the researchers will be enlisting the help of marketers.
"This is simply a cylindrical white plastic tube. You can't get anything more unattractive," said Salim S. Abdool Karim. "Even Coke would have gone bankrupt if they had adopted this approach to their marketing. We only made this gel for the study. I think the future is going to involve making this gel sexy, making this gel something that is part-and-parcel of the sex act, that enhances sex. Packaging is part-and-parcel of addressing the adherence issue."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on HIV/AIDS.
SOURCES: July 19, 2010, teleconference with Quarraisha Abdool Karim, Ph.D., associate director, Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), and associate professor, epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, and Salim S. Abdool Karim, M.D., Ph.D., director, CAPRISA, and pro vice-chancellor (research), University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa; July 19, 2010, statement, Kevin Fenton, M.D., Ph.D., director, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; July 20, 2010, Science, online
All rights reserved