November 30, 2021
Dear MTN Friends and Family,
It’s hard to believe that today marks the MTN’s final day as an independent HIV/AIDS clinical trials network.
It was in 2005 that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Division of AIDS (DAIDS) decided it would solicit a network focused on the clinical evaluation of microbicides, and in 2006, the Microbicide Trials Network was born. We would like to thank DAIDS, as well as the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Mental Health for believing in and funding our mission. In our 15 years and five months as a network we:
- Wrote 53 protocols, 43 of which were implemented
- Enrolled more than 12,000 unique participants from four continents into our studies
- Published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers
- Oversaw collection and storage of more than 1 million human laboratory samples
- Oversaw more than 1,500 shipments of more than 500,000 samples
These facts hardly tell the whole story, however. Nor is it possible to quantify the commitment and spirit of the people who comprised the MTN, of the participants who gave of themselves to take part in our studies, or of the communities and stakeholders we considered to be our partners. What we accomplished we did so together.
- We contributed to the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) dapivirine ring program, which resulted in WHO’s recommendation of the ring as an additional HIV prevention option for women, with plans now underway for the ring’s introduction in several African countries.
- The work we have done in adolescent girls and in pregnant and breastfeeding women – considered by many to be groundbreaking – promises to contribute important information about the safety and use of the dapivirine ring and Truvada as oral PrEP in these populations. Of note, the MTN-042 (DELIVER) study in pregnant women, which remains ongoing, will continue to be supported by DAIDS into the next year via funding allocated through the HPTN.
- Our rectal microbicide program, which included nine protocols of five different drugs and five different product formulations, has paved the way for rectal microbicides to move forward.
- We successfully integrated social and behavioral science into our research agenda, with eight studies focused specifically on behavioral science.
If nothing else, we can take pride in the many ways the legacy of the MTN will continue – through the next generation of HIV prevention researchers, the linkages we created with the communities of people being served by research and a greater recognition of the need for a range of HIV prevention options that will fit into people’s lives.
While we wish we could have come together one last time, a virtual celebration had to suffice. And what a celebration it was, with song and dance, poetry and photos, and a myriad of personal reflections and memories. By far the most common theme was the MTN being like a family. You can take it all in here.
Indeed, it has been a great privilege to have traveled this journey together, and we are forever grateful to the NIH, to our partners and to all of you for being part of the MTN family.