United Kingdom, Five African Nations Launch Five-Year Microbicide Development Program
The United Kingdom has teamed up with five African nations to launch a five-year microbicide development project, Reuters reports. The United Kingdom, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon and Zambia will work together on the $23 million project, which will focus on developing an effective microbicide, a substance such as a cream or gel that is applied vaginally or rectally to help prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. "We need to increase the range of products available that would give women the ability to protect themselves from HIV in ways that they can control. An effective microbicide, which must be affordable in poor countries, would be immensely useful," Clare Short, U.K. secretary of state for international development, said (Reuters, 2/19). Scientists say that microbicides could help reduce HIV transmission rates in countries in which women may not have as much control over their partners' use of condoms. Microbicide research in the United Kingdom will be conducted by the Medical Research Council and the Imperial College Faculty of Medicine (BBC News, 2/19). The Medical Research Council is currently planning large clinical trials of two microbicide gels (Reuters, 2/19).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.