http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/93088

Algae gel to combat HIV infection

Posted Jan 16, 2007 by Iamseven

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6266527.stm

A type of algae found on the Brazilian coast could hold the key to a powerful new protection for women against HIV.
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Researchers in Brazil have developed what may block HIV infection-- a microbe-killing gel made from algae found along the Brazilian coast.
Premilinary lab tests have shown the gel to be 95% efficient. It is hoped that the gel will be on the market in seven years.
This gel comes as part of a project that is world-wide--a research effort to develop microbicides, which include gels, rings, sponges and creams that prevent HIV and other STDs from taking hold.
Researchers are hopeful that these microbicides will give women the power to protect themselves, especially in nations where rape is out-of-control, STDs are all around, and where men refuse to use condoms.
These first-generation microbicides which are currently being tested should be available within the next 4 years and are expected to be from 50 to 60% effective. This gel is an exception in that tests have shown it to be 95% effective.
One of the researchers working on the gel, Dr. Luiz Castello Branco, said that "We will certainly get to a final product with an efficiency above 50%. Right now we will test the product's safety and the ideal dose."
This research certainly looks promising.. and definitely the women in the poorest nations of the world will have something to look for when these drugs become available-- as long as they are affordable, of course.