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1.  MIV-150-Containing Intravaginal Rings Protect Macaque Vaginal Explants against SHIV-RT Infection 
Recent studies demonstrated that intravaginal rings (IVRs) containing 100 mg of the nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) MIV-150 significantly protect macaques against a chimeric simian-human immunodeficiency virus that expresses the HIV-1 HxB2 reverse transcriptase (SHIV-RT) when present before and after vaginal challenge. The objectives of this study were to (i) evaluate the pharmacodynamics (PD) of MIV-150 in vaginal fluids (VF) and in ectocervical and vaginal tissues following 100-mg MIV-150 IVR exposure and to (ii) gain more insight whether pharmacokinetics (PK) of MIV-150 can predict PD. MIV-150 in VF collected at 1 day and 14 days post-MIV-150 IVR insertion inhibited ex vivo SHIV-RT infection in vaginal biopsy specimens from untreated animals (not carrying IVRs) in a dose-dependent manner. Previous PK studies demonstrated a significant increase of ectocervical and vaginal tissue MIV-150 concentrations 14 days versus 1 day post-IVR insertion, with the highest increase in vaginal tissue. Therefore, we tested PD of MIV-150 in tissues 14 days post-MIV-150 IVR insertion. Ex vivo SHIV-RT infection of vaginal, but not ectocervical, tissues collected 14 days post-MIV-150 IVR insertion was significantly inhibited compared to infection at the baseline (prior to MIV-150 IVR exposure). No changes in vaginal and ectocervical tissue infection were observed after placebo IVR exposure. Overall, these data underscore the use of the ex vivo macaque explant challenge models to evaluate tissue and VF PK/PD of candidate microbicides before in vivo animal efficacy studies. The data support further development of MIV-150-containing IVRs.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01529-13
PMCID: PMC3993268  PMID: 24614384
2.  Exposure to MIV-150 from a High-Dose Intravaginal Ring Results in Limited Emergence of Drug Resistance Mutations in SHIV-RT Infected Rhesus Macaques 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89300.
When microbicides used for HIV prevention contain antiretroviral drugs, there is concern for the potential emergence of drug-resistant HIV following use in infected individuals who are either unaware of their HIV infection status or who are aware but still choose to use the microbicide. Resistant virus could ultimately impact their responsiveness to treatment and/or result in subsequent transmission of drug-resistant virus. We tested whether drug resistance mutations (DRMs) would emerge in macaques infected with simian immunodeficiency virus expressing HIV reverse transcriptase (SHIV-RT) after sustained exposure to the potent non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) MIV-150 delivered via an intravaginal ring (IVR). We first treated 4 SHIV-RT-infected animals with daily intramuscular injections of MIV-150 over two 21 day (d) intervals separated by a 7 d drug hiatus. In all 4 animals, NNRTI DRMs (single and combinations) were detected within 14 d and expanded in proportion and diversity with time. Knowing that we could detect in vivo emergence of NNRTI DRMs in response to MIV-150, we then tested whether a high-dose MIV-150 IVR (loaded with >10 times the amount being used in a combination microbicide IVR in development) would select for resistance in 6 infected animals, modeling use of this prevention method by an HIV-infected woman. We previously demonstrated that this MIV-150 IVR provides significant protection against vaginal SHIV-RT challenge. Wearing the MIV-150 IVR for 56 d led to only 2 single DRMs in 2 of 6 animals (430 RT sequences analyzed total, 0.46%) from plasma and lymph nodes despite MIV-150 persisting in the plasma, vaginal fluids, and genital tissues. Only wild type virus sequences were detected in the genital tissues. These findings indicate a low probability for the emergence of DRMs after topical MIV-150 exposure and support the advancement of MIV-150-containing microbicides.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089300
PMCID: PMC3937329  PMID: 24586674
3.  The Nonnucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor MIV-150 in Carrageenan Gel Prevents Rectal Transmission of Simian/Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection in Macaques▿† 
Journal of Virology  2011;85(11):5504-5512.
Development of a microbicide that prevents rectal transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a vital component in reducing HIV spread. We recently demonstrated that a formulation of the nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) MIV-150 in carrageenan reduced vaginal infection of macaques with simian immunodeficiency virus SIVmac239 with HIV-1HxB2 reverse transcriptase (SHIV-RT). Herein, we performed the first testing of MIV-150–carrageenan against rectal infection. Rhesus macaques were treated rectally with MIV-150–carrageenan or methyl cellulose (MC) placebo gel up to 4 h prior to rectal challenge with 103 or 104 50% tissue culture infective doses (TCID50) of SHIV-RT. Infection was assessed by measuring plasma virus RNA as well as T and B cell responses. MIV-150–carrageenan protected all animals challenged with 103 TCID50 when gel was applied either 30 min or 4 h prior to challenge, while 100% of the MC-treated animals became infected (n = 4 each; P < 0.03). Partial protection (2 of 4 animals) by MIV-150–carrageenan was observed for rectal challenge with 10-fold more virus applied 4 h after the gel. Sequencing of the RT gene from plasma virus RNA isolated at peak viremia confirmed that both of these animals (like infected MC controls) were infected with wild-type virus. Infection correlated with the development of SIV-specific T and B cell responses. MIV-150 was detected in the rectal fluids and tissues 4 h after gel application but was not detected in the blood at any time (0.5 to 24 h). These data are promising for the development of NNRTI-containing gels to prevent rectal HIV transmission.
doi:10.1128/JVI.02422-10
PMCID: PMC3094984  PMID: 21411526
4.  A Single Dose of a MIV-150/Zinc Acetate Gel Provides 24 h of Protection Against Vaginal Simian Human Immunodeficiency Virus Reverse Transcriptase Infection, with More Limited Protection Rectally 8–24 h After Gel Use 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2012;28(11):1476-1484.
Abstract
Previously we showed that repeated vaginal application of a MIV-150/zinc acetate carrageenan (MIV-150/ZA/CG) gel and a zinc acetate carrageenan (ZA/CG) gel significantly protected macaques from vaginal simian human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase (SHIV-RT) infection. Gels were applied either daily for 2 weeks or every other day for 4 weeks, and the animals were challenged 4–24 h later. Herein, we examined the effects of a single vaginal dose administered either before or after virus challenge. Encouraged by the vaginal protection seen with MIV-150/ZA/CG, we also tested it rectally. Vaginal applications of MIV-150/ZA/CG, ZA/CG, and CG gel were performed once 8–24 h before, 1 h after, or 24 h before and 1 h after vaginal challenge. Rectal applications of MIV-150/ZA/CG and CG gel were performed once 8 or 24 h before rectal challenge. While vaginal pre-challenge and pre/post-challenge application of MIV-150/ZA/CG gel offered significant protection (88%, p<0.002), post-challenge application alone did not significantly protect. ZA/CG gel reduced infection prechallenge, but not significantly, and the effect was completely lost post-challenge. Rectal application of MIV-150/ZA/CG gel afforded limited protection against rectal challenge when applied 8–24 h before challenge. Thus, MIV-150/ZA/CG gel is a highly effective vaginal microbicide that demonstrates 24 h of protection from vaginal infection and may demonstrate efficacy against rectal infection when given close to the time of HIV exposure.
doi:10.1089/aid.2012.0087
PMCID: PMC3484818  PMID: 22737981
5.  A MIV-150/Zinc Acetate Gel Inhibits SHIV-RT Infection in Macaque Vaginal Explants 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e108109.
To extend our observations that single or repeated application of a gel containing the NNRTI MIV-150 (M) and zinc acetate dihydrate (ZA) in carrageenan (CG) (MZC) inhibits vaginal transmission of simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV)-RT in macaques, we evaluated safety and anti-SHIV-RT activity of MZC and related gel formulations ex vivo in macaque mucosal explants. In addition, safety was further evaluated in human ectocervical explants. The gels did not induce mucosal toxicity. A single ex vivo exposure to diluted MZC (1∶30, 1∶100) and MC (1∶30, the only dilution tested), but not to ZC gel, up to 4 days prior to viral challenge, significantly inhibited SHIV-RT infection in macaque vaginal mucosa. MZC's activity was not affected by seminal plasma. The antiviral activity of unformulated MIV-150 was not enhanced in the presence of ZA, suggesting that the antiviral activity of MZC was mediated predominantly by MIV-150. In vivo administration of MZC and CG significantly inhibited ex vivo SHIV-RT infection (51–62% inhibition relative to baselines) of vaginal (but not cervical) mucosa collected 24 h post last gel exposure, indicating barrier effect of CG. Although the inhibitory effect of MZC (65–74%) did not significantly differ from CG (32–45%), it was within the range of protection (∼75%) against vaginal SHIV-RT challenge 24 h after gel dosing. Overall, the data suggest that evaluation of candidate microbicides in macaque explants can inform macaque efficacy and clinical studies design. The data support advancing MZC gel for clinical evaluation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0108109
PMCID: PMC4178065  PMID: 25259616
6.  An Antiretroviral/Zinc Combination Gel Provides 24 Hours of Complete Protection against Vaginal SHIV Infection in Macaques 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e15835.
Background
Repeated use, coitus-independent microbicide gels that do not contain antiretroviral agents also used as first line HIV therapy are urgently needed to curb HIV spread. Current formulations require high doses (millimolar range) of antiretroviral drugs and typically only provide short-term protection in macaques. We used the macaque model to test the efficacy of a novel combination microbicide gel containing zinc acetate and micromolar doses of the novel non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor MIV-150 for up to 24 h after repeated gel application.
Methods and Findings
Rhesus macaques were vaginally challenged with SHIV-RT up to 24 h after repeated administration of microbicide versus placebo gels. Infection status was determined by measuring virologic and immunologic parameters. Combination microbicide gels containing 14 mM zinc acetate dihydrate and 50 µM MIV-150 afforded full protection (21 of 21 animals) for up to 24 h after 2 weeks of daily application. Partial protection was achieved with the MIV-150 gel (56% of control at 8 h after last application, 11% at 24 h), while the zinc acetate gel afforded more pronounced protection (67% at 8–24 h). Marked protection persisted when the zinc acetate or MIV-150/zinc acetate gels were applied every other day for 4 weeks prior to challenge 24 h after the last gel was administered (11 of 14 protected). More MIV-150 was associated with cervical tissue 8 h after daily dosing of MIV-150/zinc acetate versus MIV-150, while comparable MIV-150 levels were associated with vaginal tissues and at 24 h.
Conclusions
A combination MIV-150/zinc acetate gel and a zinc acetate gel provide significant protection against SHIV-RT infection for up to 24 h. This represents a novel advancement, identifying microbicides that do not contain anti-viral agents used to treat HIV infection and which can be used repeatedly and independently of coitus, and underscores the need for future clinical testing of their safety and ability to prevent HIV transmission in humans.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015835
PMCID: PMC3016413  PMID: 21246052
7.  Efficacy of Carraguard®-Based Microbicides In Vivo Despite Variable In Vitro Activity 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(9):e3162.
Anti-HIV microbicides are being investigated in clinical trials and understanding how promising strategies work, coincident with demonstrating efficacy in vivo, is central to advancing new generation microbicides. We evaluated Carraguard® and a new generation Carraguard-based formulation containing the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) MIV-150 (PC-817). Since dendritic cells (DCs) are believed to be important in HIV transmission, the formulations were tested for the ability to limit DC-driven infection in vitro versus vaginal infection of macaques with RT-SHIV (SIVmac239 bearing HIV reverse transcriptase). Carraguard showed limited activity against cell-free and mature DC-driven RT-SHIV infections and, surprisingly, low doses of Carraguard enhanced infection. However, nanomolar amounts of MIV-150 overcame enhancement and blocked DC-transmitted infection. In contrast, Carraguard impeded infection of immature DCs coincident with DC maturation. Despite this variable activity in vitro, Carraguard and PC-817 prevented vaginal transmission of RT-SHIV when applied 30 min prior to challenge. PC-817 appeared no more effective than Carraguard in vivo, due to the limited activity of a single dose of MIV-150 and the dominant barrier effect of Carraguard. However, 3 doses of MIV-150 in placebo gel at and around challenge limited vaginal infection, demonstrating the potential activity of a topically applied NNRTI. These data demonstrate discordant observations when comparing in vitro and in vivo efficacy of Carraguard-based microbicides, highlighting the difficulties in testing putative anti-viral strategies in vitro to predict in vivo activity. This work also underscores the potential of Carraguard-based formulations for the delivery of anti-viral drugs to prevent vaginal HIV infection.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003162
PMCID: PMC2525816  PMID: 18776937
8.  A Combination Microbicide Gel Protects Macaques Against Vaginal Simian Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Reverse Transcriptase Infection, But Only Partially Reduces Herpes Simplex Virus-2 Infection After a Single High-Dose Cochallenge 
Abstract
Herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) infection increases HIV susceptibility. We previously established a rhesus macaque model of vaginal HSV-2 preexposure followed by cochallenge with HSV-2 and simian/human immunodeficiency virus-reverse transcriptase (SHIV-RT). Using this model, we showed that a gel containing the nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) MIV-150 in carrageenan (CG) reduced SHIV-RT infection. To evaluate the efficacy of new generation microbicides against both viruses, we first established dual infection after single vaginal cochallenge with SHIV-RT and HSV-2 in HSV-2-naive macaques. All animals (6/6) became HSV-2 infected, with 4/6 coinfected with SHIV-RT. In a control group cochallenged with SHIV-RT and UV-inactivated HSV-2, 2/4 became SHIV-RT infected, and none had detectable HSV-2. Low-level HSV-2-specific antibody and T cell responses were detected in some HSV-2-infected animals. To test a CG gel containing MIV-150 and zinc acetate (MZC), which provided naive animals full protection from SHIV-RT for at least 8 h, MZC (vs. CG) was applied daily for 14 days followed by cochallenge 8 h later. MZC prevented SHIV-RT infection (0/9 infected, p=0.04 vs. 3/6 in CG controls), but only reduced HSV-2 infection by 20% (6/9 infected vs. 5/6 in CG, p=0.6). In HSV-2-infected animals, none of the gel-treated animals seroconverted, and only the CG controls had measurable HSV-2-specific T cell responses. This study shows the promise of MZC to prevent immunodeficiency virus infection (even in the presence of HSV-2) and reduce HSV-2 infection after exposure to a high-dose inoculum. Additionally, it demonstrates the potential of a macaque coinfection model to evaluate broad-spectrum microbicides.
doi:10.1089/aid.2013.0165
PMCID: PMC3910668  PMID: 24117013
9.  A Potent Combination Microbicide that Targets SHIV-RT, HSV-2 and HPV 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94547.
Prevalent infection with human herpes simplex 2 (HSV-2) or human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with increased human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) acquisition. Microbicides that target HIV as well as these sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may more effectively limit HIV incidence. Previously, we showed that a microbicide gel (MZC) containing MIV-150, zinc acetate (ZA) and carrageenan (CG) protected macaques against simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV-RT) infection and that a ZC gel protected mice against HSV-2 infection. Here we evaluated a modified MZC gel (containing different buffers, co-solvents, and preservatives suitable for clinical testing) against both vaginal and rectal challenge of animals with SHIV-RT, HSV-2 or HPV. MZC was stable and safe in vitro (cell viability and monolayer integrity) and in vivo (histology). MZC protected macaques against vaginal (p<0.0001) SHIV-RT infection when applied up to 8 hours (h) prior to challenge. When used close to the time of challenge, MZC prevented rectal SHIV-RT infection of macaques similar to the CG control. MZC significantly reduced vaginal (p<0.0001) and anorectal (p = 0.0187) infection of mice when 106 pfu HSV-2 were applied immediately after vaginal challenge and also when 5×103 pfu were applied between 8 h before and 4 h after vaginal challenge (p<0.0248). Protection of mice against 8×106 HPV16 pseudovirus particles (HPV16 PsV) was significant for MZC applied up to 24 h before and 2 h after vaginal challenge (p<0.0001) and also if applied 2 h before or after anorectal challenge (p<0.0006). MZC provides a durable window of protection against vaginal infection with these three viruses and, against HSV-2 and HPV making it an excellent candidate microbicide for clinical use.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094547
PMCID: PMC3989196  PMID: 24740100
10.  Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Resistance or Cross-Resistance to Nonnucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors Currently under Development as Microbicides ▿ †  
Microbicides based on nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) are currently being developed to protect women from HIV acquisition through sexual contact. However, the large-scale introduction of these products raises two major concerns. First, when these microbicides are used by undiagnosed HIV-positive women, they could potentially select for viral resistance, which may compromise subsequent therapeutic options. Second, NNRTI-based microbicides that are inactive against NNRTI-resistant strains might promote the selective transmission of these viruses. In order to address these concerns, drug resistance was selected in vitro by the serial passage of three viral isolates from subtypes B and C and CRF02_AG (a circulating recombinant form) in activated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) under conditions of increasing concentrations of three NNRTIs (i.e., TMC120, UC781, and MIV-160) that are currently being developed as candidate microbicides. TMC120 and MIV-160 displayed a high genetic barrier to resistance development, whereas resistance to UC781 emerged rapidly, similarly to efavirenz and nevirapine. Phenotypically, the selected viruses appeared to be highly cross-resistant to current first-line therapeutic NNRTIs (i.e., delavirdine, nevirapine, and efavirenz), although they retained some susceptibility to the more recently developed NNRTIs lersivirine and etravirine. The ability of UC781, TMC120, and MIV-160 to inhibit the in vitro-selected NNRTI-resistant viruses was also limited, although residual activity could be observed for the candidate microbicide NNRTI MIV-170. Interestingly, only four p2/p7/p1/p6/PR/RT/INT recombinant NNRTI-resistant viruses (i.e., TMC120-resistant VI829, EFV-resistant VI829, MIV-160-resistant VI829, and EFV-resistant MP568) showed impairments in replicative fitness. Overall, these in vitro analyses demonstrate that due to potential cross-resistance, the large-scale introduction of single-NNRTI-based microbicides should be considered with caution.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01426-10
PMCID: PMC3067143  PMID: 21282453
11.  A Macaque Model to Study Vaginal HSV-2/Immunodeficiency Virus Co-Infection and the Impact of HSV-2 on Microbicide Efficacy 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(11):e8060.
Background
Herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2) infection enhances the transmission and acquisition of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This occurs in symptomatic and asymptomatic stages of HSV-2 infection, suggesting that obvious herpetic lesions are not required to increase HIV spread. An animal model to investigate the underlying causes of the synergistic action of the two viruses and where preventative strategies can be tested under such complex physiological conditions is currently unavailable.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We set out to establish a rhesus macaque model in which HSV-2 infection increases the susceptibility to vaginal infection with a model immunodeficiency virus (simian-human immunodeficiency virus, SHIV-RT), and to more stringently test promising microbicides. HSV-2 exposure significantly increased the frequency of vaginal SHIV-RT infection (n = 6). Although cervical lesions were detected in only ∼10% of the animals, long term HSV-2 DNA shedding was detected (in 50% of animals followed for 2 years). Vaginal HSV-2 exposure elicited local cytokine/chemokine (n = 12) and systemic low-level HSV-2-specific adaptive responses in all animals (n = 8), involving CD4+ and CD8+ HSV-specific T cells (n = 5). Local cytokine/chemokine responses were lower in co-infected animals, while simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-specific adaptive responses were comparable in naïve and HSV-2-infected animals (n = 6). Despite the increased frequency of SHIV-RT infection, a new generation microbicide gel, comprised of Carraguard® and a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor MIV-150 (PC-817), blocked vaginal SHIV-RT infection in HSV-2-exposed animals (n = 8), just as in naïve animals.
Conclusions/Significance
We established a unique HSV-2 macaque model that will likely facilitate research to define how HSV-2 increases HIV transmission, and enable more rigorous evaluation of candidate anti-viral approaches in vivo.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008060
PMCID: PMC2787245  PMID: 20011586
12.  The Emerging Profile of Cross-Resistance among the Nonnucleoside HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors 
Viruses  2014;6(8):2960-2973.
Nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) are widely used to treat HIV-1-infected individuals; indeed most first-line antiretroviral therapies typically include one NNRTI in combination with two nucleoside analogs. In 2008, the next-generation NNRTI etravirine was approved for the treatment of HIV-infected antiretroviral therapy-experienced individuals, including those with prior NNRTI exposure. NNRTIs are also increasingly being included in strategies to prevent HIV-1 infection. For example: (1) nevirapine is used to prevent mother-to-child transmission; (2) the ASPIRE (MTN 020) study will test whether a vaginal ring containing dapivirine can prevent HIV-1 infection in women; (3) a microbicide gel formulation containing the urea-PETT derivative MIV-150 is in a phase I study to evaluate safety, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and acceptability; and (4) a long acting rilpivirine formulation is under-development for pre-exposure prophylaxis. Given their widespread use, particularly in resource-limited settings, as well as their low genetic barriers to resistance, there are concerns about overlapping resistance between the different NNRTIs. Consequently, a better understanding of the resistance and cross-resistance profiles among the NNRTI class is important for predicting response to treatment, and surveillance of transmitted drug-resistance.
doi:10.3390/v6082960
PMCID: PMC4147682  PMID: 25089538
HIV; reverse transcriptase; nonnucleoside inhibitors; nevirapine; efavirenz; rilpivirine; etravirine; dapivirine; MIV-150
13.  Safety and Pharmacokinetics of Intravaginal Rings Delivering Tenofovir in Pig-Tailed Macaques 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2012;56(11):5952-5960.
Antiretroviral-based microbicides applied topically to the vagina may play an important role in protecting women from HIV infection. Incorporation of the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor tenofovir (TFV) into intravaginal rings (IVRs) for sustained mucosal delivery may lead to increased microbicide product adherence and efficacy compared with those of conventional vaginal formulations. Formulations of a novel “pod IVR” platform spanning a range of IVR drug loadings and daily release rates of TFV were evaluated in a pig-tailed macaque model. The rings were safe and exhibited sustained release at controlled rates over 28 days. Vaginal secretion TFV levels were independent of IVR drug loading and were able to be varied over 1.5 log units by changing the ring configuration. Mean TFV levels in vaginal secretions were 72.4 ± 109 μg ml−1 (slow releasing) and 1.84 ± 1.97 mg ml−1 (fast releasing). The mean TFV vaginal tissue concentration from the slow-releasing IVRs was 76.4 ± 54.8 μg g−1 and remained at steady state 7 days after IVR removal, consistent with the long intracellular half-life of TFV. Intracellular tenofovir diphosphate (TFV-DP), the active moiety in defining efficacy, was measured in vaginal lymphocytes collected in the study using the fast-releasing IVR formulation. Mean intracellular TFV-DP levels of 446 ± 150 fmol/106 cells fall within a range that may be protective of simian-human immunodeficiency virus strain SF162p3 (SHIVSF162p3) infection in nonhuman primates. These data suggest that TFV-releasing IVRs based on the pod design have potential for the prevention of transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and merit further clinical investigation.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01198-12
PMCID: PMC3486594  PMID: 22964245
14.  Intravaginal rings as delivery systems for microbicides and multipurpose prevention technologies 
There is a renewed interest in delivering pharmaceutical products via intravaginal rings (IVRs). IVRs are flexible torus-shaped drug delivery systems that can be easily inserted and removed by the woman and that provide both sustained and controlled drug release, lasting for several weeks to several months. In terms of women’s health care products, it has been established that IVRs effectively deliver contraceptive steroids and steroids for the treatment of postmenopausal vaginal atrophy. A novel application for IVRs is the delivery of antiretroviral drugs for the prevention of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) genital infection. Microbicides are antiviral drugs delivered topically for HIV prevention. Recent reviews of microbicide IVRs have focused on technologies in development and optimizing ring design. IVRs have several advantages, including the ability to deliver sustained drug doses for long periods of time while bypassing first pass metabolism in the gut. IVRs are discreet, woman-controlled, and do not require a trained provider for placement or fitting. Previous data support that women and their male sexual partners find IVRs highly acceptable. Multipurpose prevention technology (MPT) products provide protection against unintended/mistimed pregnancy and reproductive tract infections, including HIV. Several MPT IVRs are currently in development. Early clinical testing of new microbicide and MPT IVRs will require a focus on safety, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Specifically, IVRs will have to deliver tissue concentrations of drugs that are pharmacodynamically active, do not cause mucosal alterations or inflammation, and do not change the resident microbiota. The emergence of resistance to antiretrovirals will need to be investigated. IVRs should not disrupt intercourse or have high rates of expulsion. Herein, we reviewed the microbicide and MPT IVRs currently in development, with a focus on the clinical aspects of IVR assessment and the challenges facing microbicide and MPT IVR product development, clinical testing, and implementation. The information in this review was drawn from PubMed searches and a recent microbicide/MPT product development workshop organized by CONRAD.
doi:10.2147/IJWH.S34030
PMCID: PMC3808127  PMID: 24174884
contraception; HIV; microbicides
15.  Safe and Sustained Vaginal Delivery of Pyrimidinedione HIV-1 Inhibitors from Polyurethane Intravaginal Rings 
The potent antiretroviral pyrimidinediones IQP-0528 (PYD1) and IQP-0532 (PYD2) were formulated in polyurethane intravaginal rings (IVRs) as prophylactic drug delivery systems to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV-1. To aid in the selection of a pyrimidinedione candidate and the optimal loading of the drug in the IVR delivery system, four pyrimidinedione IVR formulations (PYD1 at 0.5 wt% [PYD10.5wt%], PYD11wt%, PYD24wt%, and PYD214wt%) were evaluated in pigtail macaques over 28 days for safety and pyrimidinedione vaginal biodistribution. Kinetic analysis of vaginal proinflammatory cytokines, native microflora, and drug levels suggested that all formulations were safe, but only the high-loaded PYD214wt% IVR demonstrated consistently high pyrimidinedione vaginal fluid and tissue levels over the 28-day study. This formulation delivered drug in excess of 10 μg/ml to vaginal fluid and 1 μg/g to vaginal tissue, a level over 1,000 times the in vitro 50% effective concentration. The in vitro release of PYD1 and PYD2 under nonsink conditions correlated well with in vivo release, both in amount and in kinetic profile, and therefore may serve as a more biologically relevant means of evaluating release in vitro than typically employed sink conditions. Lastly, the pyrimidinediones in the IVR formulation were chemically stable after 90 days of storage at elevated temperature, and the potent nanomolar-level antiviral activity of both molecules was retained after in vitro release. Altogether, these results point to the successful IVR formulation and vaginal biodistribution of the pyrimidinediones and demonstrate the usefulness of the pigtail macaque model in evaluating and screening antiretroviral IVR formulations prior to preclinical and clinical evaluation.
doi:10.1128/AAC.05721-11
PMCID: PMC3294899  PMID: 22155820
16.  Profound Antiviral Effect of Oral Administration of MIV-210 on Chronic Hepadnaviral Infection in a Woodchuck Model of Hepatitis B▿  
MIV-210 is a prodrug of 3′-fluoro-2′,3′-dideoxyguanosine with high oral bioavailability in humans and potent activity against hepatitis B virus (HBV). Woodchucks infected with woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) represent an accurate model of HBV infection that is utilized for evaluation of the efficacy and safety of novel anti-HBV agents. Oral administration of MIV-210 at 20 or 60 mg/kg of body weight/day induced a rapid virological response in chronically infected woodchucks, reducing serum WHV DNA levels by 4.75 log10 and 5.72 log10, respectively, in 2 weeks. A progressive decline in WHV viremia occurred throughout the 10-week therapy, giving final reductions of 7.23 log10 and 7.68 log10 in the 20- and 60-mg/kg/day groups, respectively. Further, a daily dose of 10 mg/kg decreased the serum WHV load 400-fold after 4 weeks of treatment, and a dose of 5 mg/kg/day was sufficient to maintain this antiviral effect during the following 6-week period. MIV-210 at 20 or 60 mg/kg/day reduced the liver WHV DNA load 200- to 2,500-fold from pretreatment levels and, importantly, led to a 2.0 log10 drop in the hepatic content of WHV covalently closed circular DNA. The treatment with 60 mg/kg/day was well tolerated. Liver biopsy specimens obtained after the 10-week treatment with 20 or 60 mg/kg/day and after the 10-week follow-up showed hepatocyte and mitochondrial ultrastructures comparable to those in the placebo-treated group. It was concluded that MIV-210 is highly effective against chronic WHV infection. These findings, together with the previously demonstrated inhibitory activity of MIV-210 against lamivudine-, adefovir-, and entecavir-resistant HBV variants, make MIV-210 a highly valuable candidate for further testing as an agent against chronic hepatitis B.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00263-09
PMCID: PMC2737870  PMID: 19564357
17.  Contemporary Seasonal Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Infection Primes for a More Robust Response To Split Inactivated Pandemic Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Vaccination in Ferrets ▿  
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology : CVI  2010;17(12):1998-2006.
Human influenza pandemics occur when influenza viruses to which the population has little or no immunity emerge and acquire the ability to achieve human-to-human transmission. In April 2009, cases of a novel H1N1 influenza virus in children in the southwestern United States were reported. It was retrospectively shown that these cases represented the spread of this virus from an ongoing outbreak in Mexico. The emergence of the pandemic led to a number of national vaccination programs. Surprisingly, early human clinical trial data have shown that a single dose of nonadjuvanted pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 monovalent inactivated vaccine (pMIV) has led to a seroprotective response in a majority of individuals, despite earlier studies showing a lack of cross-reactivity between seasonal and pandemic H1N1 viruses. Here we show that previous exposure to a contemporary seasonal H1N1 influenza virus and to a lesser degree a seasonal influenza virus trivalent inactivated vaccine is able to prime for a higher antibody response after a subsequent dose of pMIV in ferrets. The more protective response was partially dependent on the presence of CD8+ cells. Two doses of pMIV were also able to induce a detectable antibody response that provided protection from subsequent challenge. These data show that previous infection with seasonal H1N1 influenza viruses likely explains the requirement for only a single dose of pMIV in adults and that vaccination campaigns with the current pandemic influenza vaccines should reduce viral burden and disease severity in humans.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00247-10
PMCID: PMC3008197  PMID: 20962210
18.  Zinc Acetate/Carrageenan Gels Exhibit Potent Activity In Vivo against High-Dose Herpes Simplex Virus 2 Vaginal and Rectal Challenge 
Topical microbicides that block the sexual transmission of HIV and herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) are desperately needed to reduce the incidence of HIV infections worldwide. Previously we completed phase 3 testing of the carrageenan-based gel Carraguard. Although the trial did not show that Carraguard is effective in preventing HIV transmission during vaginal sex, it did show that Carraguard is safe when used weekly for up to 2 years. Moreover, Carraguard has in vitro activity against human papillomavirus (HPV) and HSV-2 and favorable physical and rheological properties, which makes it a useful vehicle to deliver antiviral agents such as zinc acetate. To that end, we previously reported that a prototype zinc acetate carrageenan gel protects macaques against vaginal challenge with combined simian-human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase (SHIV-RT). Herein, we report the safety and efficacy of a series of zinc acetate and/or carrageenan gels. The gels protected mice (75 to 85% survival; P < 0.001) against high-dose (106-PFU) HSV-2 vaginal or rectal challenge. In contrast, zinc acetate formulated in HEC (hydroxyethylcellulose; or the Universal Placebo) failed to protect mice against the high-dose vaginal HSV-2 challenge (similar to aqueous zinc acetate solution and the placebo controls). The gels were found to be effective spreading gels, exhibited limited toxicity in vitro, caused minimal damage to the architecture of the cervicovaginal and rectal mucosae in vivo, and induced no increased susceptibility to HSV-2 infection in a mouse model. Our results provide a strong rationale to further optimize and evaluate the zinc acetate/carrageenan gels for their ability to block the sexual transmission of HIV and HSV-2.
doi:10.1128/AAC.05461-11
PMCID: PMC3256046  PMID: 22064530
19.  A 90-Day Tenofovir Reservoir Intravaginal Ring for Mucosal HIV Prophylaxis 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2012;56(12):6272-6283.
A vaginal gel containing the antiretroviral tenofovir (TFV) recently demonstrated 39% protection against HIV infection in women. We designed and evaluated a novel reservoir TFV intravaginal ring (IVR) to potentially improve product effectiveness by providing a more controlled and sustained vaginal dose to maintain cervicovaginal concentrations. Polyurethane tubing of various hydrophilicities was filled with a high-density TFV/glycerol/water semisolid paste and then end-sealed to create IVRs. In vitro, TFV release increased with polyurethane hydrophilicity, with 35 weight percent water-swelling polyurethane IVRs achieving an approximately 10-mg/day release for 90 days with mechanical stiffness similar to that of the commercially available NuvaRing. This design was evaluated in two 90-day in vivo sheep studies for TFV pharmacokinetics and safety. Overall, TFV vaginal tissue, vaginal fluid, and plasma levels were relatively time independent over the 90-day duration at approximately 104 ng/g, 106 ng/g, and 101 ng/ml, respectively, near or exceeding the highest observed concentrations in a TFV 1% gel control group. TFV vaginal fluid concentrations were approximately 1,000-fold greater than levels shown to provide significant protection in women using the TFV 1% gel. There were no toxicological findings following placebo and TFV IVR treatment for 28 or 90 days, although slight to moderate increases in inflammatory infiltrates in the vaginal epithelia were observed in these animals compared to naïve animals. In summary, the controlled release of TFV from this reservoir IVR provided elevated sheep vaginal concentrations for 90 days to merit its further evaluation as an HIV prophylactic.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01431-12
PMCID: PMC3497207  PMID: 23006751
20.  Simultaneous Delivery of Tenofovir and Acyclovir via an Intravaginal Ring 
Vaginal microbicides may play an important role in protecting women from HIV infection. A strong synergy between HSV and HIV has been observed, and epidemiological studies demonstrate that HSV infection increases the risk of HIV acquisition. Incorporation of the antiretroviral tenofovir (TFV) along with the antiherpetic acyclovir (ACV) into combination intravaginal rings (IVRs) for sustained mucosal delivery of both compounds could lead to increased microbicide product adherence and efficacy compared with conventional vaginal formulations. A novel, dual-protection “pod IVR” platform developed in-house and delivering ACV and TFV was evaluated in rabbit and sheep models. The devices were safe and exhibited sustained release of both drugs independently and at controlled rates over the 28-day studies. Daily release rates were estimated based on residual drug content of the used devices: rabbits, 343 ± 335 μg day−1 (ACV) and 321 ± 207 μg day−1 (TFV); sheep, 174 ± 14 μg day−1 (ACV) and 185 ± 34 μg day−1 (TFV). Mean drug levels in sheep vaginal samples were as follows: secretions, 5.25 ± 7.31 μg ml−1 (ACV) and 20.6 ± 16.2 μg ml−1 (TFV); cervicovaginal lavage fluid, 118 ± 113 ng ml−1 (ACV) and 191 ± 125 ng ml−1 (TFV); tissue, 173 ng g−1 (ACV) and 93 ng g−1 (TFV). An in vitro-in vivo correlation was established for both drugs and will allow the development of future formulations delivering target levels for prophylaxis and therapy. These data suggest that the IVR based on the pod design has potential in the prevention of transmission of HIV-1 and other sexually transmitted pathogens.
doi:10.1128/AAC.05662-11
PMCID: PMC3264253  PMID: 22123689
21.  Microbial biofilms on the surface of intravaginal rings worn in non-human primates 
Journal of Medical Microbiology  2011;60(Pt 6):828-837.
Millions of intravaginal rings (IVRs) are used by women worldwide for contraception and for the treatment of vaginal atrophy. These devices also are suitable for local and systemic sustained release drug delivery, notably for antiviral agents in human immunodeficiency virus pre-exposure prophylaxis. Despite the widespread use of IVRs, no studies have examined whether surface-attached bacterial biofilms develop in vivo, an important consideration when determining the safety of these devices. The present study used scanning electron microscopy, fluorescence in situ hybridization and confocal laser scanning microscopy to study biofilms that formed on the surface of IVRs worn for 28 days by six female pig-tailed macaques, an excellent model organism for the human vaginal microbiome. Four of the IVRs released the nucleotide analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitor tenofovir at a controlled rate and the remaining two were unmedicated. Large areas of the ring surfaces were covered with monolayers of epithelial cells. Two bacterial biofilm phenotypes were found to develop on these monolayers and both had a broad diversity of bacterial cells closely associated with the extracellular material. Phenotype I, the more common of the two, consisted of tightly packed bacterial mats approximately 5 µm in thickness. Phenotype II was much thicker, typically 40 µm, and had an open architecture containing interwoven networks of uniform fibres. There was no significant difference in biofilm thickness and appearance between medicated and unmedicated IVRs. These preliminary results suggest that bacterial biofilms could be common on intravaginal devices worn for extended periods of time.
doi:10.1099/jmm.0.028225-0
PMCID: PMC3167919  PMID: 21393449
22.  An Intravaginal Ring for the Simultaneous Delivery of Multiple Drugs 
Journal of pharmaceutical sciences  2012;101(8):10.1002/jps.23208.
Intravaginal delivery of microbicide combinations is a promising approach for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, but requires a method of providing simultaneous, independent release of multiple agents into the vaginal compartment. A novel intravaginal ring (IVR) platform has been developed for simultaneous delivery of the reverse-transcriptase inhibitor tenofovir (TFV) and the guanosine analogue antiviral acyclovir (ACV) with independent control of release rate for each drug. The IVR is based on a pod design, with up to 10 individual polymer-coated drug cores embedded in the ring releasing through preformed delivery channels. The release rate from each pod is controlled independently of the others by the drug properties, polymer coating, and size and number of delivery channels. Pseudo-zero-order in vitro release of TFV (144 ± 10 µg day) and ACV (120 ± 19 µg day−1) from an IVR containing both drugs was sustained for 28 days. The mechanical properties of the pod IVR were evaluated and compared with the commercially available Estring® (Pfizer, NY, NY). The pod-IVR design enables the vaginal delivery of multiple microbicides with differing physicochemical properties, and is an attractive approach for the sustained intravaginal delivery of relatively hydrophilic drugs that are difficult to deliver using conventional matrix IVR technology.
doi:10.1002/jps.23208
PMCID: PMC3857731  PMID: 22619076
drug delivery systems; HIV/AIDS; formulation; in vitro models; mechanical properties; intravaginal ring; microbicide delivery; silicone; sustained release; combination delivery device
23.  A Modified Zinc Acetate Gel, a Potential Nonantiretroviral Microbicide, Is Safe and Effective against Simian-Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Herpes Simplex Virus 2 Infection In Vivo 
We previously showed that a prototype gel comprising zinc acetate (ZA) in carrageenan (CG) protected mice against vaginal and rectal herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) challenge as well as macaques against vaginal simian-human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase (SHIV-RT) challenge. In this work, we modified buffers and cosolvents to obtain a stable, nearly iso-osmolal formulation and evaluated its safety and efficacy against SHIV-RT and HSV-2. In vitro toxicity to lactobacilli and Candida albicans was determined. Macaques were given daily doses of ZA and CG (ZA/CG) or CG alone vaginally for 14 days and challenged with SHIV-RT 24 h later. Mice were challenged vaginally or rectally with HSV-2 immediately after a single gel treatment to measure efficacy or vaginally 12 h after daily gel treatment for 7 days to evaluate the gel's impact on susceptibility to HSV-2 infection. The modified ZA/CG neither affected the viability of lactobacilli or C. albicans nor enhanced vaginal HSV-2 infection after daily ZA/CG treatment. Vaginal SHIV-RT infection of macaques was reduced by 66% (P = 0.006) when macaques were challenged 24 h after the last dose of gel. We observed 60% to 80% uninfected mice after vaginal (P < 0.0001) and rectal (P = 0.008) high-dose HSV-2 challenge. The modified ZA/CG gel is safe and effective in animal models and represents a potential candidate to limit the transmission of HIV and HSV-2.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00796-13
PMCID: PMC3719770  PMID: 23752515
24.  A Novel Unsupervised Approach for Minimally-invasive Video Segmentation 
Temporal segmentation of laparoscopic video is the first step toward identifying anomalies and interrupts, recognizing actions, annotating video and assessing the surgeons' learning curve. In this paper, a novel approach for temporal segmentation of minimally-invasive videos (MIVS) is proposed. Illumination variation, shadowing, dynamic backgrounds and tissue respiratory motion make it challenging to extract information from laparoscopic videos. These challenges if not properly addressed could increase the errors of data extraction modules. Therefore, in MIVS, several data sets are extracted from laparoscopic videos using different methods to alleviate error effects of data extraction modules on MIVS performance. Each extracted data set is segmented temporally with Genetic Algorithm (GA) after outlier removal. Three different cost functions are examined as objective function of GA. The correlation coefficient is calculated between objective values of the solutions visited by GA and their corresponding performance measures. Performance measures include detection rate, recognition rate and accuracy. Cost functions having negative correlations with all mentioned performance measures are selected. Finally, a multi-objective GA is executed on the data sets to optimize the selected cost functions. MIVS is tested on laparoscopic videos of varicocele and ureteropelvic junction obstruction surgeries collected from hasheminejad kidney center. Experimental results demonstrate that MIVS outperforms the state-of-the-art methods in terms of accuracy, detection rate and recognition rate.
PMCID: PMC3967456  PMID: 24695410
Minimally invasive surgery; multi-objective genetic algorithm; surgical instruments; video segmentation
25.  RT-SHIV, an infectious CCR5-tropic chimeric virus suitable for evaluating HIV reverse transcriptase inhibitors in macaque models 
Background
Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) are an important category of drugs for both chemotherapy and prevention of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection. However, current non-human primate (NHP) models utilizing simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) or commonly used chimeric SHIV (SIV expressing HIV-1 envelope) are inadequate due to the insensitivity to NNRTIs. To develop a NHP model for evaluation of NNRTI compounds, we characterized a RT-SHIV virus that was assembled by replacing the SIVmac239 reverse transcriptase (RT) with that of HIV-1HXB2. Since RT-SHIV exhibited in vitro characteristics of high infectivity, CCR5-usage, and sensitivity to HIV-1 specific NNRTIs, this virus was thought to be suitable for mucosal transmission and then was used to carry out a vaginal transmission study in pigtail macaques (Macaca nemestrina).
Results
RT-SHIV exhibited in vitro characteristics of an infectious CCR5-tropic chimeric virus. This virus was not only highly sensitive to HIV-1 RT specific NNRTIs; its replication was also inhibited by a variety of NRTIs and protease inhibitors. For in vivo vaginal transmission studies, macaques were either pretreated with a single dose of DMPA (depot medroxyprogesterone acetate) or left untreated before intravaginal inoculation with 500 or 1,000 TCID50 of RT-SHIV. All macaques became systemically infected by 2 or 3 weeks post-inoculation exhibiting persistent high viremia, marked CD4+T cell depletion, and antiviral antibody response. DMPA-pretreated macaques showed a higher mean plasma viral load after the acute infection stage, highly variable antiviral antibody response, and a higher incidence of AIDS-like disease as compared with macaques without DMPA pretreatment.
Conclusion
This chimeric RT-SHIV has exhibited productive replication in both macaque and human PBMCs, predominantly CCR5-coreceptor usage for viral entry, and sensitivity to NNRTIs as well as other anti-HIV compounds. This study demonstrates rapid systemic infection in macaques following intravaginal exposure to RT-SHIV. This RT-SHIV/macaque model could be useful for evaluation of NNRTI-based therapies, microbicides, or other preventive strategies.
doi:10.1186/1742-6405-6-23
PMCID: PMC2780452  PMID: 19891783

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