Comtuter and Internet News Channel
Specialists of the University of Waterloo, Canada, has developed a vaginal implant, capable of protecting women from sexual transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Promising medical device reduces the number of cells that could become a target of the virus during sex.
According to Canadians, the new technology is more effective preventive measure compared to anti-HIV drugs and condoms.
Recall that HIV, in contrast to the same Ebola virus, don’t kill people, it only weakens their protection against other diseases. Hence the name: human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). However, the weakening of the immune system gradually leads to death of infected, if he takes no measures to reduce the number of viral particles in your body.
Since the first publications on HIV has been more than 35 years, but the problem is still relevant today. In Russia the situation is deplorable: only was infected with HIV — one million 114 thousand people. In this case, every five minutes, and already frightening the number increases even for one person.
Experts around the world are looking for ways to protect people from acquiring and transmitting HIV.
The starting point for the development of a new tool became an earlier study by canadian experts. A few years ago they found that some sex workers in Kenya are infected with the virus, despite the relationship with HIV-positive sexual partners. The experts felt that the reason for that is natural "immune rest" (more on this term below).
As experts explain, HIV infects human blood cells having on their surface, CD4-receptors: for example, T-lymphocytes. The latter are mobilized by the immune system when the virus enters the human body. If the T-cells remain at rest and not try to fight the virus, they aren’t infected, and the infection does not occur.
By studying this process, experts even coined the term "immune rest" when T-lymphocytes defend themselves. In fact, as noted above, scientists believe that this is why some Kenyan women not infected with a virus.
Inhibition of the immune response against viral particles present in the female genital organs, may seem counterintuitive, but this process prevents the virus to gain a foothold in the body.
Professor, school of pharmacy, University of Waterloo, Emmanuel Ho (Emmanuel Ho) and his colleagues asked the question: is it possible pharmaceuticals to induce "immune rest" with the help of the drug, which will be the site of a possible infection? Simply put, they wanted to develop a device that will simulate "immune rest".
To this end, the researchers developed a vaginal implant, which does not allow HIV to be transmitted between people.
The implant consists of a hollow tube and a pair of flexible arcs, by which it is retained in the vagina. Inside the tube is hydroxychloroquine — the medicine against malaria, which weakens the immune response. The drug is slowly produced porous material and is absorbed by the walls of the vagina.
"We know that some drugs that is taken orally, never get into the vagina. Therefore, this implant may provide a more reliable and cheap method that helps the T-cells to respond to infection. Thus the implant will prevent transmission of the virus"— says Ho.
Experts have tested the implants in rabbits. As a result, the device led to a significant decrease in the activation of T-lymphocytes.
Inspired by the positive results of the initial studies, scientists are now working to improve the approach.
According to Ho, until they know whether their implant to become an independent variant of HIV transmission or it is better to use in combination with other prevention measures. "In the future we intend to answer these questions"— he concludes.
The results of the study and description of the development presented in the scientific Journal Journal of Controlled Release.
We will add that earlier the authors of the project "News.Science" (nauka.vesti.ru) talked about the unique the antibody, which can deal with 99% of strains of HIV. We also reported about the test, able to detect "hidden" HIV and diagnostic technology, which will give the result within 30 minutes.