Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has requested an investigation by the research ethics council after concerns about the health of participants in microbicide clinical trials.
Yesterday Tshabalala-Msimang said she had met with researchers following "disturbing news" about preliminary results of a study conducted among 604 women in KwaZulu-Natal.
The purpose of the trials was to test the effectiveness of a vaginal microbicide in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV.
"Ethical practice of research has become a major concern in health research over the past few years, particularly regarding the vulnerability of research participants."
Tshabalala-Msimang said she would request the investigation to establish if the research followed the protocols approved by the Medicine Control Council and the ethics committees of the relevant research institutions.
She wants to know if participants were given enough information to make informed decisions about their participation. - Sapa