Vaginal ring could help prevent HIV infection in women

pharmafile | September 7, 2021 | News story | Manufacturing and Production, Research and Development  

Researchers from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) are exploring the use of an intra vaginal ring containing anti-HIV medication as a preventative step against contracting the virus.

A previous KEMRI study from 2017 enrolled over 2,000 women who were on a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) pill, with over half the cohort being HIV positive. It was found that due to a lack of adherence to the pill more HIV contractions were recorded.

Beatrice Nyagol, a KEMRI researcher said: The cases of those who seroconverted were from failure of adhering to the daily pill as prescribed. We are carrying out clinical trials on the ring to solve the problem of pill burden among these groups of people.”

Phase III clinical trials are currently underway exploring the safety and efficacy of the vaginal ring versus the PrEP pill in a cohort of women aged between 18 to 45.

The ring is made of silicone and is inserted into the vagina, where it releases dapivirine, an antiretroviral drug, over the course of one month when it is then removed and swapped out.

Nyagol said the ring has passed safety tests and is now undergoing efficacy testing stages ready to be presented to the Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons Board for approval.

Currently researchers have provided the vaginal rings to over 4,500 women, including pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers, in Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Malawi.

Kat Jenkins

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