Nav: Home

University of Waterloo develops new way to fight HIV transmission

April 16, 2018

Scientists at the University of Waterloo have developed a new tool to protect women from HIV infection.

The tool, a vaginal implant, decreases the number of cells that the HIV virus can target in a woman's genital tract. Unlike conventional methods of HIV prevention, such as condoms or anti-HIV drugs, the implant takes advantage of some people's natural immunity to the virus.

HIV infects the body by corrupting T cells that are mobilized by the immune system when the virus enters a person's body. When the T cells stay resting and do not attempt to fight the virus they are not infected and the HIV virus is not transmitted between people. When the T cells stay resting, it's referred to as being immune quiescent.

"We know that some drugs taken orally never make it to the vaginal tract, so this implant could provide a more reliable way to encourage T cells not to respond to infection and therefore more reliably and cheaply prevent transmission," said Emmanuel Ho, a professor in the School of Pharmacy at Waterloo. "What we don't know yet is if this can be a stand-alone option for preventing HIV transmission or if it might be best used in conjunction with other prevention strategies. We aim to answer these questions with future research."

Ho's implant was inspired by previous research involving sex workers in Kenya. In Kenya, Ho and research partner Keith Fowke of the University of Manitoba, observed that many of these women who had sex with HIV positive clients but did not contract the virus. They later found the women possessed T cells that were naturally immune quiescent.

"Observing this, we asked ourselves if it was possible to pharmacologically induce immune quiescence with medication that was better assured of reaching the point of infection," said Ho. "By delivering the medication exactly where it's needed, we hoped to increase the chances of inducing immune quiescence."

The implant is composed of a hollow tube and two pliable arms to hold it in place. It contains hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) which is disseminated slowly through the porous material of the tube and absorbed by the walls of the vaginal tract.

The implants were tested in an animal model and the team observed a significant reduction in T cell activation, meaning that the vaginal tract was demonstrating an immune quiescent state.

The article recently appeared in the Journal of Controlled Release.
-end-


University of Waterloo

Related Infection Articles:

Male infertility: Urogenital infection as a possible cause
In couples who have not been able to have children, male infertility is the cause in at least half of cases.
A novel approach to seeing dengue infection in the body
Positron emission tomography (PET) paired with the glucose metabolism probe, fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), is considered 'old' technology in the field of cancer.
Smelling the risk of infection
Humans and monkeys are social beings and benefit from a community.
Tuberculosis and HIV co-infection
The HIV virus increases the potency of the tuberculosis bacterium (Mtb) by affecting a central function of the immune system.
New insight into course and transmission of Zika infection
In one of the first and largest studies of its kind, a research team lead by virologists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has characterized the progression of two strains of the viral infection.
UTMB researchers protect against lethal Ebola Sudan infection four days after infection
Researchers at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, in collaboration with Arbutus Biopharma Corporation, have protected nonhuman primates against Ebola Sudan four days following exposure to the virus.
How tumor necrosis factor protects against infection
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF), a messenger substance in the immune system, plays an important role in triggering chronic inflammatory diseases.
Gene amplification -- the fast track to infection
Researchers at UmeƄ University in Sweden are first to discover that bacteria can multiply disease-inducing genes which are needed to rapidly cause infection.
New test allows for one-step diagnosis of HCV infection
The current standard in diagnosing Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection requires two sequential steps that make it suboptimal, costly, inconvenient, time consuming, and globally not widely available or affordable.
Do dressings prevent infection?
There is insufficient evidence to know whether dressings reduce the risk of wound infection after surgery and, in some cases, leaving a wound exposed may be better, say researchers in The BMJ today.

Related Infection Reading:

DOXYCYCLINE (Hyclate): Treats Bacterial Infections (e.g. Pneumonia, Respiratory Tract Infections); Lyme Disease; Severe Acne or Rosacea; Infections of ... Systems; and Anthrax; also Prevents Malaria
by James Lee Anderson (Author)

amoxicillin: guide for 100% treatment of bacterial infections
by Dr Benson A John (Author)

Ciprofloxacin: Ultimate treatment of bacterial infection like Skin Infection, UTI and Joint Infection
by Zardi Call (Author)

Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues, Updated with a New Preface
by Paul Farmer (Author)

Amoxicillin: 100% Complete guide for the treatment of bacteria infections
by Dr Charles S Fred (Author)

ZITHROMAX Tablet: Treats Certain Bacterial Infections, such as Bronchitis; Pneumonia; STD; and Infections of the Ears, Lungs, Sinuses, Skin, Throat, and Reproductive Organs
by James Lee Anderson (Author)

Infection: A Post-Apocalyptic Survival Novel (Sympatico Syndrome Book 1)
by MPMcD Publishing

Amoxicillin Capsule: A simple Guide on how to treat infections with antibiotics.
by Dr Ted Scott (Author)

Ciprofloxacin: Perfect Medication On An Antibiotic That Fights Bacteria Infections Such As Sinuses, Skin Infection, Uti, Joint Infection, Diarrhea, And Typhoid Fever.
by Larry Y. Bostrom (Author)

Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic
by David Quammen (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Circular
We're told if the economy is growing, and if we keep producing, that's a good thing. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers explore circular systems that regenerate and re-use what we already have. Guests include economist Kate Raworth, environmental activist Tristram Stuart, landscape architect Kate Orff, entrepreneur David Katz, and graphic designer Jessi Arrington.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#503 Postpartum Blues (Rebroadcast)
When a woman gives birth, it seems like everyone wants to know how the baby is doing. What does it weigh? Is it breathing right? Did it cry? But it turns out that, in the United States, we're not doing to great at asking how the mom, who just pushed something the size of a pot roast out of something the size of a Cheerio, is doing. This week we talk to anthropologist Kate Clancy about her postpartum experience and how it is becoming distressingly common, and we speak with Julie Wiebe about prolapse, what it is and how it's...