A group of researchers from Canada has announced that they have devised a new silver nanoparticle coating for condoms that could help to completely inactivate HIV and other STDs. According to the researchers, condoms have a 15% failure rate and to help improve the effectiveness of condoms the team of researchers from the University of Manitoba soaked condoms in a solution packed with microscopic silver nanoparticles.
According to the researchers, the treated condoms were able to defeat all HIV and herpes in lab experiments. According to researchers, when their silver nanoparticle condoms contacted HIV, the infectiousness of the virus was completely inactivated. Silver has been used as a disinfectant for many years. We’ve seen silver nanoparticles used in things in the technology world as well, such as keyboards with antibacterial properties.
The scientists say that when silver is turned into tiny nanoparticles that it becomes more effective at fighting bacteria and viruses. The small size of the tiny particles of silver allows them to be applied to a polyurethane condom without changing the condom size or shape. The scientists do admit to not completely understanding exactly how the silver nanoparticles are able to neutralize HIV and other viruses.
The scientists believe that it’s possible the silver ions released are able to attach to the virus and prevent the virus from binding to cell receptors in the host body. The scientists also believe that an alternate method of activity could be that the silver nanoparticles change a key protein on the surface of the virus to stop it from sticking the host cells. The scientists also report that silver nanoparticles don’t cause inflammation associated with other antiviral or antimicrobial substances condoms have been coated with in the past, such as nonoxynol-9. The next stage in research will be animal testing, so commercial availability is still a long way off.
[via National Post]