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Mucus-based lubricant for HIV and herpes

Cow mucus provides the basis for a synthetic prophylactic gel that has been developed at KTH Royal Institute of Technology to protect against HIV and herpes transmission.

The lubricating gel proved 70% effective in lab tests against HIV, and 80% effective against herpes.

Hongji Yan, a Biomaterials Researcher at KTH, says the promising results raise hope that when it becomes available as a product, the gel could help reverse troubling trends in the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

The lubricant is derived from mucin, which is a main component of mucus that is produced in the human body, though suppliers provide the bovine type in purified form for fabrication of hydrogels.

Hongji said the natural complexity of the mucin molecules is the reason the synthetic gel is so effective at stopping the HIV and herpes.

Image credit | KTH-Royal-Institute-Of-Technology



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