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A novel gel for targeting vaginal inflammation to prevent HIV transmission

Adolescent girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa are up to 3 times more likely to be infected with HIV than their male peers. Subclinical genital inflammation, caused by a non-optimal vaginal microbiome lacking beneficial Lactobacillus species, is a key mechanism driving this difference. We have discovered that optimal vaginal Lactobacillus spp. make a product that has direct anti-inflammatory effects on cervicovaginal epithelial cells that could help prevent HIV.

This study will formulate and perform preclinical studies of an anti-inflammatory microbiota metabolite for in vivo evaluation.

Formulated gels will be assessed for their physicochemical properties, ability to dampen inflammation in cervicovaginal epithelial cells in vitro, kill non-optimal vaginal bacteria, and their safety in a three-dimensional vaginal tissue model,

A non-optimal vaginal microbiome increases the risk of a women acquiring HIV by >4-fold and transmitting HIV to their male partners. Developing a vaginal gel that dampens genital inflammation could be used by women to decrease HIV transmission.

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Professor Gilda Tachedjian

Contact Professor Gilda Tachedjian for more information about this project.



  • ACH2
  • Campbell Foundation
  • MRFF

Partners +

  • Dr Anna Hearps
  • Dr LIndi Masson
  • Professor Catriona Bradshaw
  • Professor Jacques Ravel
  • Dr Simon Moulton
  • Dr Simon Cook
  • Dr Seyoum Ayenhunie
  • Dr Lenka Vodstrcil
  • Professor Deborah Bateson
  • Dr Erica Plummer