Can Clinical Trials Requiring Frequent Participant Contact Be Conducted Over the Internet? Results From an Online Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluating a Topical Ointment for Herpes Labialis
Prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is key to public health efforts to control these diseases. An effective vaginal microbicide could provide topical, broad-spectrum prevention against the transmission of several STI pathogens. Docusate is a sulfated surfactant and, as such, may inactivate viral pathogens by disrupting viral envelopes and/or denaturing/disassociating proteins. Accordingly, the in vitro efficacy and toxicity of docusate (dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate; Zorex; Meditech Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Scottsdale, Arizona) against herpes simplex viruses (HSV) were evaluated. Docusate was effective in vitro against wild type and drug-resistant strains of HSV type 1 and 2 with EC(90-100) (effective concentration giving 90-100% virus yield reduction) of approximately 0.005% (w/v). Sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) was equipotent, however, docusate was somewhat less toxic to uninfected Vero cells compared with SDS after 2 days incubation (docusate CC(50) approximately 0.01% vs. SDS approximately 0.005%). The cytotoxicity profiles of docusate were time- and dose-dependent and thus associated with the frequency of use. Kinetics of inactivation examined by pre-mixing virus and drug in a time-course experiment demonstrated that docusate could reach its EC(90-100) within 30 min. Docusate pretreatment of cells was associated with a 45% reduction in infectivity of those cells, despite a triple washing procedure. Once infected, an approximate 30% plaque reduction was observed with treatment.