In an interesting medical breakthrough, researchers have come up with a new non-latex condom to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS, which has killed 39 million people since its outbreak in 1981.
The hydrogel condom contains antioxidants that have the ability to kill the deadly virus even after breaking. This piece of marvel has been developed a team of researchers at Texas A&M University which also includes Professor Mahua Choudhury, an Indian-American.
Also read: Dear Asia, why so scared of condoms?
How will it help?
- The revolutionary condom is made of an elastic polymer called hydrogel, and includes plant-based antioxidants that have anti-HIV properties.
- "We are not only making a novel material for condoms to prevent the HIV infection, but we are also aiming to eradicate this infection if possible," Choudhury, assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center's Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, said.
- The condom material already exists as a water-based hydrogel for medical purposes such as contact lenses, researchers said.
- In addition to providing protection against STDs and pregnancy, researchers enmeshed in the hydrogel design the antioxidant quercetin. If the condom breaks, the quercetin would be released for additional protection.
- Researchers hope the condom will enjoy greater use and have a stronger effect at preventing the spread of HIV as the new design is more comfortable and also heightens sexual pleasure.
Meet the inventor
- Choudhury, who studied Molecular Biology, Biophysics and Genetics in India before getting her PhD in the US, has been researching diabetes and the obesity epidemic.
- She was one of 54 people awarded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's "Grand Challenge in Global Health" grant.
- This year's initiative asked winning recipients to create an affordable, latex-free condom to help battle the HIV epidemic, which is currently affecting 35 million people in the world.
- "If you can make it really affordable, and really appealing, it could be a life-saving thing," Choudhury said.
How to get it?
- The condom has already been created and now the only thing keeping it from going to market is an approval on its patent application.
- The researchers hope to test the condom within the next six months.
- Once released, the new condom will eventually be made available to everyone, including those in rural areas, where these types of resources are limited, Choudhury said.