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Vaginal Cream Blocks HIV Transmission in Lab Setting

Researchers use silver nanoparticles (January 28)

After discovering that silver nanoparticles can block the entry of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) into cells, researchers at the University of Texas, working in collaboration with a team in Mexico, have created a vaginal cream to control transmission of the virus.

HIV enters CD4 immune cells with the aid of a protein known as GP120, which allows the virus to adhere to cell surfaces, the investigators explain. Silver nanoparticles attach themselves to the same protein and block the virus.

The researchers in Mexico say that the cream has been tested in samples of human tissue. The silver nanoparticles were shown to block the transmission of HIV through cervical mucous membranes.

The Mexican researchers also say that, after application, the cream starts to work in less than 1 minute and may offer protection for up to 72 hours.

According to Dr. Humberto Lara Villegas, a specialist in nanoparticles and virology, the cream might also prevent the transmission of other sexually acquired viruses, such as the human papillomavirus (HPV). In addition, silver nanoparticles could be used to combat bacteria transmitted the same way.

So far, no toxicity of the silver nanoparticles has been reported.

Source: Medical Xpress; January 28, 2014.

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