While there are presently no condoms on the market that fully protect us against harmful viruses such as HIV and other STIs, scientists at the University of Manitoba have discovered that lining condoms with silver nanoparticles actually warded off HIV and Herpes virus cells. At the moment it is still unknown as to how exactly the reaction works, but they ended up with the virus cells being unable to attach themselves to the host’s cells, this reducing their effectiveness to zero.
They also noted that the body quickly disposes of the residual silver, preventing the toxic metal from lingering and causing poisoning. Unlike other anti-microbial substances, the samples showed no inflammatory reactions to the silver, which only spells good news for the concept.
The team is now working on a sample to be tested on animals and if all goes well, a human test product could be in the works, resulting in a final product hitting shelves in just a few years.
One of the biggest problems though is the fact that its effectiveness depends on people using condoms all together. While there is a lot of promise for this project, there is still a need for more educational campaigns to encourage sexually active individuals to use condoms if they don’t use any other forms of protection.
You can read up more about this development in the International Journal of Nanotechnology.