Project Ubuzima has entered the third of testing an anti-HIV gel for women. This is the final phase before the manufacturing of the product, which is believed to reduce the risk of HIV infection among women.
According to Dr Gilles Ndayisaba, the principal researcher in the study, the final phase would be based on the vaginal ring and will target 400-600 women.
“This ring contains the antiretroviral drug Dapivirine and it must be inserted in the vagina for a period of 28 days before being changed,” said Ndayisaba.
The microbicide vaginal ring is one of the microbicides, which is currently under study to assess its efficiency in reducing the risk of HIV transmission to women.
The research is based on microbicide products that contain an antiretroviral compound, Dapirivine, that is being developed as vaginal gels, films and rings to help protect women from HIV infection during sexual intercourse.
“After the completion of different trials on phase I and phase II on the safety of microbicides and their acceptability in women and their partners, the preparations of the phase III are currently in full swing,” Ndayisaba observed.
This study is scheduled to take a total of three years.
Meanwhile, the CEO of International Partnership for Microbicides, (IPM) Dr. Rosenberg Zeda was in the country recently to inform authorities that Rwanda is among the countries where the trial will be conducted.
Zeda, who was accompanied by Dr. Annalene Nel, the IPM’s Chief Medical Officer, met and held talks with the outgoing Health Minister, Dr. Richard Sezibera. The two discussed various studies conducted by Projet Ubuzima, which represents IPM in Rwanda.
“They particularly discussed the Phase III study and the good collaboration of Rwanda and IPM through Projet Ubuzima. Minister Sezibera revealed that the sustainability of this collaboration will be upheld, given the fact that both sides work for a common interest,” said Marie Michelle Umulisa, the Communications Officer of Project Ubuzima.
Zeda also met the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya and discussed the study. Mujawamariya pledged to advocate for the studies.