Pro 2000, a vaginal microbicide gel designed to reduce women’s risk of HIV infection, showed no evidence that it reduces the risk of HIV infection, revealed by researchers at Britain’s Medical Research Council (MRC).
This placebo-controlled trial involved 9,385 women at six research centres in four African countries and found that the risk of HIV infection in women who were supplied with PRO 2000 gel was not significantly different than in women supplied with placebo gel. Although ineffective in providing protection, PRO 2000 gel itself was safe to use.
A vaginal microbicide is a product intended for use before sexual intercourse to help reduce HIV infection, as it is clear that condom promotion alone has not controlled the epidemic. The gel was given to participants together with a package of prevention against HIV infection that included free condoms, counselling for safer sex negotiation and sexual health throughout the trial.
The trial, known as MDP 301, took place between September 2005 and September 2009 and was carried out by the Microbicides Development Programme (MDP), a not-for-profit partnership of 16 African and European research institutions. It was funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the UK Medical Research Council (MRC).
To date, no microbicide has been shown to be effective against HIV infection. This trial shows conclusively that PRO 2000 gel is of no added benefit, ending scientific speculation about its clinical importance.
Source: Medical Research Council, UK