Silicone vaginal ring could deliver HIV, herpes drugs at low cost

Vaginal rings made from silicone--Courtesy of UJM

French researchers have developed a vaginal ring made from silicone that could deliver preventive treatments for both HIV and herpes. Because it's made of silicone, the ring has the potential to provide care to women at a lower cost than other rings.

The ring in this study, performed by scientists at University Jean Monnet in Saint-Etienne, France, released acyclovir for herpes at between 1.5 and 3.5 mg per day, and the HIV drug tenofovir for 50 days at a time, according to a report from the American Society for Microbiology.

The ring is intended for women in low-income countries who are likely to come in contact with a sexually transmitted infection early on in their lives.

And silicone is a major point here--the material has been difficult to coopt for this purpose due to its chemical properties. But it's cheap, and rings made of silicone can be mass-produced.

"We succeeded in creating a ring that can deliver hydrophilic molecules such as tenofovir, active on HIV-1, and acyclovir, active on herpes virus, despite the fact that silicone is a hydrophobic compound," author Meriam Memmi said in a statement.

- here's the ASM report

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