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Clinical trials of a new gel designed to protect women from HIV infection have been halted prematurely after it emerged that women using the gel were more likely to become infected than those receiving placebo.
The study of the cellulose sulphate vaginal gel, from Canadian company Polydex Pharmaceuticals, was being conducted in over 1,300 women in Benin, India, South Africa and Uganda.
Cellulose sulphate was one of four compounds being evaluated in large-scale studies among women at high risk of HIV infection.
There are currently three other phase III microbicide studies underway.