New Delhi: A large-scale clinical trial of a new vaginal gel supposed to reduce HIV infections in women has been suspended after the gel was found ineffective.
This comes as a major setback, as the previous study on the gel, spiked with the AIDS drug tenofovir had shown encouraging results. The first trial by Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), in 2010, showed reduced HIV infections in by 39% overall, but by 54% among those women who used it most consistently.
An interim review recommended that the Vaginal and Oral Interventions to Control the Epidemic (VOICE) study evaluating daily use of tenofovir vaginal gel was even less effective than a placebo. The VOICE study is divided into three experiments comparing three different products against a placebo. Part of the research has now been cancelled.
Another area of the three-part trial, involving a tenofovir pill was cancelled in September because it, too, did not appear to be working. However, the study is ongoing on a third avenue using tenofovir and a booster drug (Truvada pill).
The trial is expected to go on until mid-2012 and the data are to be released in early 2013.