A new sperm-killing gel developed by U.S. researchers is also said to have antiviral properties and to also improve the quality of sexual intercourse for couples.
Spermicides are often found to be insufficiently effective and condoms uncomfortable. American researchers have invented a contraceptive gel with three functions: It is spermicidal, antiviral, and designed to increase male libido. They describe how it works in the journal Bioactive Materials.
A contraceptive that is 100% effective
“The addition of pharmacological agents to contraceptive gels improves the sexual experience and ensures safety and hygiene,” the scientific team said. The gel produced contains three active ingredients: tenofovir, gossypol acetate, and nitroglycerin. Gossypol has demonstrated its contraceptive efficacy in an in vitro study using porcine semen. At a dosage of 10 mg/ml, it takes only 30 seconds to neutralize 100% of pig semen. Tenofovir, on the other hand, has an antiviral function: in vitro tests have confirmed this. For the research team, this is proof that it can protect against sexually transmitted diseases without compromising vaginal cells’ health.
Results confirmed in mice
The researchers then conducted a study with mice: One group was exposed to the gel, another to other commercially available gels, and the last was a control group. None of the females that received the new product became pregnant, compared to one mouse in the group that was given the commercially available gels. Statistically, the scientists indicated that the trifunctional gel was 100% effective, compared to an average of 87% for other commercially available spermicides.
At the same time, the ability of the product to stimulate male libido was studied. And it was confirmed: the mice that received the product mated more frequently and had better quality erections. Given these varied findings, the researchers are optimistic. “Our hope is that this trifunctional gel can improve the safety and quality of sexual intercourse,” says the study’s lead author, Ke Cheng of the University of North Carolina. In the US, the pill remains the contraceptive method most commonly used by women, followed by the intrauterine device (IUD).