Revolutionary 'VivaGel' condom that kills HIV could be available in months
An Australian company have made ground-breaking progress in the fight to combat the worldwide problem of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), after gaining approval for their revolutionary new type of condom. Australian bio-tech firm Starpharma have crafted a condom lubricated with antiviral ‘VivaGel’ which is able to destroy sexually transmitted infections, and the condom has now been given the green light by Australian Regulators. The condom has been issued with a receipt of Conformity of Assessment Certification by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) – like the CE mark certificates in Europe – and this could now lead to a huge mass production of the product. Starpharma are now joining forces with Australian condom maker Ansell – the company that own an estimated 70% of Australia’s condom market - to produce the prophylactics, which are currently being analysed by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a potential future release in the US. For those who are unfamiliar with VivaGel, it is a nanotech antiviral compound that contains 0.5% astodrimer sodium - a non-antibiotic, antimicrobial drug that is made purposely to combat a wide range of sexual infections such as HIV, herpes and human papilloma virus. Dr Jackie Fairley, the chief executive of the company which created VivaGel, said: “Condoms are not 100 per cent effective in preventing either pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections and so anything that you can do to reduce the number of virus particles by inactivating them with a substance like VivaGel would reduce overall viral load." The condom’s TGA approval was given after the product was thoroughly tested in accordance with certain requirements relating safety and performance, and its release cannot come quick enough for Australians. Genital herpes, caused by the herpes simplex virus, is caught by a staggering one in eight Australians aged 25 and over. A good proportion of these people are probably completely unaware they even have the virus unfortunately as symptoms don’t always rear their ugly head. And worryingly, without sufficient chlamydia treatment, the person can be eventually left infertile. Statistics show that by the end of 2012, newly diagnosed HIV infections in Australia had increased 10% over the previous 12 months, representing the largest increase for two decades. Peter Carroll, Ansell president and general manager of the sexual wellness global business unit, claimed that the “ground-breaking new sexual health” product may be on the shelves sooner rather than later. “Ansell looks forward to rolling out its marketing and sales campaign to support the launch of LifeStyles Dual Protect over the coming months with the first product expected to be available on shelves soon,” he said.