TORONTO—With an eye to facilitating adjunct methods to control the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), a group of scientists and experts unveiled the Microbicide Development Strategy. The strategy is the result of more than a year of discussions and meetings held around the world.
As Dr. Salim Abdool Karim, strategy leader and director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), explained, the strategy was necessary to provide a clear way forward if anyone wants to see microbicides in the clinic in the next 5-10 years. The group's recommendations address four key issues. As Karim explains, there is a lack of correlation between safety and protection in microbicide development, something akin to the use of viral load as a marker of drug efficacy. There is also a need to develop a clinical trial infrastructure in high HIV-incidence communities now, before the growing pipeline of compounds becomes a logistical challenge.
Karim also spoke of a need to focus on formulation issues that will increase the likelihood of treatment adherence. And interestingly, he confidently said that the industry needed to prepare for its future success, to translate the technology from bench to bedside in the most effective and efficient manner.