Florida A discovery by scientists may soon lead to a topical cream that would prevent the transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
The team of researchers at the University of Central Florida, led by Alexander Cole, has revived a dormant gene found in humans and coaxed it to produce a protein that resists HIV. Cole used aminoglycosides, drugs commonly used to fight bacterial infections, to trigger production of the sleeping protein.
“There is a good chance the aminoglycosides antibiotics will be used in a topical cream as a way to prevent the transmission of HIV from men to women,” Cole said. “It could make a huge difference in the fight against HIV.”
Findings from Cole’s three-year investigation are being released today and published in this month’s PLoS Biology, a respected scientific journal.
Cole said more work — including human trials — would be needed to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of a topical cream.