Scientists have created a type of vaginal bacteria to combat the spread of HIV among women.
Dean Hamer of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues replicated the bacteria produced naturally by the body to produce the anti-HIV protein cyanovirin-N.
They applied a gel containing the bacteria to the vaginas of rhesus macaques before infecting them by the same route with a hybrid of SIV and HIV.
The engineered bacteria cut the infection rate by 63 percent, reports New Scientist.
Human females have 10 times as much of the bacteria as female macaques, so the engineered bacteria could reduce infection rates even more dramatically, says Hamer.
Clinical tests could begin within a few years after it is proved that the treatment is safe.