Feeds

Bill Gates-funded boffins develop anti-AIDS stealth condom

Crafty polymer gel 'solidifies' in presence of sperm

High performance access to file storage

Scientists in Utah have developed what they term a "molecular condom", a type of gel which "turns semisolid in the presence of semen, trapping AIDS virus particles in a microscopic mesh".

"Due to cultural and socioeconomic factors, women often are unable to negotiate the use of protection with their partner," says Julie Jay, University of Utah doctoral candidate in pharmaceutics, speaking particularly of AIDS-ridden sub-Saharan Africa.

Hence Jay and her colleagues have developed an anti-HIV barrier gel intended for use by women before having sex.

"It flows at a vaginal pH, and the flow becomes slower and slower as pH increases, and it begins to act more solid at the pH of semen," Jay says.

"We did it to develop technologies that can enable women to protect themselves against HIV without approval of their partner," adds Patrick Kiser, Utah bioengineering prof. "This is important – particularly in resource-poor areas of the world like sub-Sahara Africa and south Asia where, in some age groups, as many as 60 per cent of women already are infected with HIV. In these places, women often are not empowered to force their partners to wear a condom."

Kiser and Jay believe that their molecular condom, made up of long-chain polymers, would act as an effective barrier to HIV infection on its own. As vaginal pH returned to normal and the barrier liquefied once more, HIV particles would naturally be "inactivated" - and antiviral drugs could also be included in the gel to help with this.

The molecular-condom tech is to be patented. The Utah boffins consider that human tests might start in "three to five years", and delivery of a product some years after that.

Kiser's team at Utah Uni has recently won a $100k grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, which will enable the scientists to continue their research.

A new study on the technology will be published this week in the journal Advanced Functional Materials. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.