Cyanovirin-N gel as a topical microbicide prevents rectal transmission of SHIV89.6P in macaques

AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2003 Jul;19(7):535-41. doi: 10.1089/088922203322230897.


Cyanovirin-N (CV-N), an 11-kDa cyanobacterial protein, potently inactivates diverse strains of HIV-1, HIV-2, and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and also prevents virus-to-cell fusion, virus entry, and infection of cells in vitro. These properties make CV-N an attractive candidate for use as a topical microbicide to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV. We evaluated the efficacy of gel-formulated, recombinant CV-N gel asa topical microbicide in male macaques (Macaca fascicularis) that were rectally challenged with a chimeric SIV/HIV-1 virus known as SHIV89.6P. All of the untreated macaques were infected and experienced CD4+T cell depletion. In contrast, none of the macaques that received either 1% or 2% CV-N gel showed evidence of SHIV89.6P infection. Neither CV-N nor placebo gels produced any adverse effects in any macaque following the rectal application. These results indicate that CV-N gel as a topical microbicide can prevent rectal transmission of SHIV in macaques. These studies encourage clinical evaluation of CV-N as a topical microbicide to prevent sexual transmission of HIV in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Rectal
  • Animals
  • Anti-HIV Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Carrier Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Carrier Proteins / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Gels
  • HIV-1 / drug effects*
  • HIV-1 / isolation & purification
  • Lymph Nodes / virology
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Models, Animal
  • Reassortant Viruses / drug effects*
  • Reassortant Viruses / isolation & purification
  • Safety
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / virology
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / drug effects*
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / isolation & purification


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Gels
  • cyanovirin N