ARV vaginal ring goes on trial in South Africa

2012-06-19 13:11

A new clinical trial that aims to test whether a vaginal ring, containing antiretroviral drug dapivirine, can protect women from HIV has begun in two South African provinces.

The ring, which will remain inside the vagina for four weeks, will also be tested to see if it is safe for women to use for longer periods of time.

Two districts in North West and KwaZulu-Natal have been selected by the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) as trial sites.

Dr Zeda Rosenberg, IPM chief executive officer said: “The ring study presents an important technological advancement.

“The ring might provide protection not only because of the active drug but also because women only need to put the ring in once a month, so it stays in the body and could offer protection throughout this time,” she said.

About 1 650 women will participate in the ring study. Of these, 1 110 of them will use a ring that contains dapivirine and the other 550 women will use a similar ring but without the active drug.

Women will be randomly assigned to the two groups and neither the women nor the researchers will know which product is being used by individual participants.

At the end of the study, the two groups of women will be compared to see if there were fewer HIV-1 infections among those using the dapivirine ring than among those using the placebo, and if the ring was safe when used for an extended period.

The results of the trial are expected in 2015.

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