Pharmacy professor develops anti-HIV cream

KINGSTON, R.I. A University of Rhode Island pharmacy professor is finalizing development of a cream that could be used by women during intercourse to prevent Human Immunodeficiency Virus transmission, the University of Rhode Island announced Monday.

Keykavous Parang, an associate professor of biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences in the College of Pharmacy, in collaboration with the Eastern Virginia Medical School’s Clinical Research Center, is conducting research on the cream with a $288,0000 grant from the Contraceptive Research and Development Program.

“Women face a greater risk of acquiring HIV and are four to 17 times more likely to contract HIV because of economic, social and biological factors,” Parang stated. “So there is an urgent need to develop a safe over-the-counter intravaginal/intrarectal microbicide for prevention of HIV transmission in women.”

He said the goal of the project is to develop anti-HIV-1 microbicides with or without spermicidal activity by combining agents having different mechanisms of action. Some of these microbicides are in pre-clinical studies, Parang said. In addition to this two-year project, Parang has already received $274,000 through the same program since 2003.

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