Vaccine trial leaves Mazabuka women with HIV

Half of the volunteers for the clinical trial of the Microbicide Gel conducted by the Microbicide Development Programme in Mazabuka are feared to have contracted HIV due to alleged failed efficacy of the drug.

The drug called Gel was administered on HIV negative women as a preventive measure against contracting the virus in a trial to determine the effectiveness of the drug.

However, Programme Coordinator, Ruth Kasonde has declined to give details of the outcome of the trial to ZANIS in Mazabuka.

According to well placed sources, 1,340 HIV negative women were enrolled for the trial and that after 12 months it was discovered that nearly half of them had contracted the virus despite using the Gel.

The sources revealed that the results of the trial have since been submitted to the Microbicide Development Programme by the Medical Research Council of the United Kingdom.

It was not immediately clear if the Ministry of Health in Zambia has similarly been availed the research findings.

The Gel was being administered into the Vagina an hour before a sexual encounter.

The gel contains molecules that are intended to clump around HIV before it can penetrate the vaginal wall. However, the researchers found that the gel did not have such an effect as most of the women who used the gel contracted HIV during the study period.

The sources also revealed that next month the women who were under clinical trial would be briefed on the outcome of the research.

They further revealed that another research would be conducted targeting 60 women in Lubombo area in Mazabuka.

“This study will be different from the earlier one as it will focus on the acceptability especially that it is an ARV based microbicide trial,” the source said.

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