Summary: We evaluated the potential effectiveness of a spermicide cationic surfactant, benzalkonium chloride (BZK), to prevent the transmission of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) after intravaginal inoculation in 12 cynomolgus macaques. The inoculation procedure involved deposition of 6.7 ivag-AID50 of cell-free SIVmac251 into the receiving vagina, four times over a 2-week period, at the end of the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Six randomly selected females received vaginally foam containing BZK (7.37%, wt/wt) before each inoculation (BZK group), whereas the remaining were not pretreated (control group). In controls, 5 animals presented persistent SIV infection and 1 had a transient viremia. The number of uninfected animals was higher in the BZK group (6 of 6) than in controls (0 of 6). These findings demonstrate that BZK placed in the vaginal receptacle prior to SIV inoculation provides a significant protection in vivo. The wide spectrum of antimicrobial activities of BZK (including HIV) in addition to its efficiency to block the transmucosal passage of SIV in the macaque model qualifies this drug as an attractive topical microbicide to prevent sexually transmitted infections in humans.
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