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Scientists developing female condom that’ll dissolve inside the body

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A team of scientists at the University Of Washington are developing a product that women can use to protect themselves from HIV infection and unintended pregnancy.

The only way to protect against HIV and unintended pregnancy today is the condom. It’s an effective technology, but not appropriate or popular in all situations.

A University of Washington team has developed a versatile platform to simultaneously offer contraception and prevent HIV. Electrically spun cloth with nanometer-sized fibers can dissolve to release drugs, providing a platform for cheap, discrete and reversible protection.

The research was published this week in the Public Library of Science’s open-access journal PLoS One. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation last month awarded the UW researchers almost $1 million to pursue the technology.

“Our dream is to create a product women can use to protect themselves from HIV infection and unintended pregnancy,” said corresponding author Kim Woodrow, a UW assistant professor of bioengineering. “We have the drugs to do that. It’s really about delivering them in a way that makes them more potent, and allows a woman to want to use it.”

Electrospinning uses an electric field to catapult a charged fluid jet through air to create very fine, nanometer-scale fibers. The fibers can be manipulated to control the material’s solubility, strength and even geometry. Because of this versatility, fibers may be better at delivering medicine than existing technologies such as gels, tablets or pills. No high temperatures are involved, so the method is suitable for heat-sensitive molecules. The fabric can also incorporate large molecules, such as proteins and antibodies, that are hard to deliver through other methods.

At a lab meeting last year, Woodrow presented the concept, and co-authors Emily Krogstad and Cameron Ball, both first-year graduate students, pursued the idea.

They first dissolved polymers approved by the Food and Drug Administration and antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV to create a gooey solution that passes through a syringe. As the stream encounters the electric field it stretches to create thin fibers measuring 100 to several thousand nanometers that whip through the air and eventually stick to a collecting plate (one nanometer is about one 25-millionth of an inch). The final material is a stretchy fabric that can physically block sperm or release chemical contraceptives and antivirals.

fibers

“This method allows controlled release of multiple compounds,” Ball said. “We were able to tune the fibers to have different release properties.”

One of the fabrics they made dissolves within minutes, potentially offering users immediate, discrete protection against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Another dissolves gradually over a few days, providing an option for sustained delivery, more like the birth-control pill, to provide contraception and guard against HIV.

The fabric could incorporate many fibers to guard against many different sexually transmitted infections, or include more than one anti-HIV drug to protect against drug-resistant strains (and discourage drug-resistant strains from emerging). Mixed fibers could be designed to release drugs at different times to increase their potency, like the prime-boost method used in vaccines.

The electrospun cloth could be inserted directly in the body or be used as a coating on vaginal rings or other products.

Electrospinning has existed for decades, but it’s only recently been automated to make it practical for applications such as filtration and tissue engineering. This is the first study to use nanofibers for vaginal drug delivery.

While this technology is more discrete than a condom, and potentially more versatile than pills or plastic or rubber devices, researchers say there is no single right answer.

“At the time of sex, are people going to actually use it? That’s where having multiple options really comes into play,” Krogstad said. “Depending on cultural background and personal preferences, certain populations may differ in terms of what form of technology makes the most sense for them.”

The team is focusing on places like Africa where HIV is most common, but the technology could be used in the U.S. or other countries to offer birth control while also preventing one or more sexually transmitted diseases.

The research to date was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the UW’s Center for AIDS Research. The other co-author on the paper is Thanyanan Chaowanachan, a UW postdoctoral researcher and longtime HIV expert.

The team will use the new Gates Foundation grant to evaluate the versatility and feasibility of their system. The group will hire more research staff and buy an electrospinning machine to make butcher-paper sized sheets. The expanded team will spend a year testing combinations that deliver two antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV and a hormonal contraceptive, and then six months scaling up production of the most promising materials.

Source: News Release University of Washington

Misc News/Press Release

Himachal Reports 87 COVID-19 Deaths in 11 Days With a Steep Rise in Cases

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COVID-19 deaths in Himachal pradesh on november 10

Shimla-With nine more COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, the tally for Himachal Pradesh has jumped to 399. The state is witnessing a surge in November as 87 deaths were reported during the last 11 days. Yesterday’s fatalities included seven males and two females aged between 45 to 87 years. Find the reasons for these fatalities below:

himachal pradesh -Update on covid-19 deaths

Further, according to the state Health Department’s official statistics, 610 new cases of COVID-19 were detected yesterday, of which Shimla reported highest (118) cases, followed by Mandi (116).

In Mandi district, as many as 26 more teachers and some students reportedly tested positive yesterday. The infected also included two doctors of Tanda Medical College, Kangra, and a couple of policemen in Sakoh.

Operation theatre at the Kamala Nehru Hospital, Shimla, was reportedly closed for a week. Similarly, the women police station in Shimla was also closed following the detection of a case.

Further, the state High Court has taken suo moto cognizance of a news report published in an English daily and issued a notice to the government. The news pertained to Indira Gandhi Medical College, which ran out of space for COVID-19 patients in isolation wards.

As per official data, the total for COVID-19 in the state had reached 27418 till yesterday evening (9 pm), of which 5605 were active cases. Mandi district has reported highest 4194 cases, followed by Solan (3958), Shimla (3725), and Kangra (3635).

The state government is barely speaking on the alarming rise in fatalities and its strategy to control it. But Chief Minister, while addressing a public meeting at Sihunta under Bhatiyat Assembly Constituency yesterday, did hail the Prime Minister and claimed that the nation is out of COVID-19 crisis.

“He (PM) has successfully brought the Nation out of Covid-19 crisis,”

Chief Minister said.

HP Health Department COVID-19 Bulletin for November 11, 2020 (9 pm)

 

 

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Himachal Reports 12 COVID-19 Deaths in Single Day, Surge in Cases in Shimla

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Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 deaths till diwali

Shimla-COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc in Himachal Pradesh as a record 12 fatalities were reported on Tuesday. Of the 611 new positive cases yesterday, Shimla reported highest 148 with seven fatalities. The deceased included 11 males and a female aged between 47 to 92 years.  During the last three days, the state has reported 25 fatalities. Find the details regarding the causes of deaths below:

Himachal Pradesh Record COVID-19 deaths

The state government had yesterday decided to close all educational institutes in Himachal for 15 days after over a hundred teachers and students tested positive in schools. The government termed it as a special vocation for students, teachers, and non-teaching staff of all educational institutes.

The capital has witnessed a surge as over 750 cases were reported during the last six days. In the season of festivity and marriages, social distancing and other guidelines issued by the MHA for personal protection are being flaunted, which is only fueling the spread. 

On top of it, the COVID-19 Hospitals in the state have begun to run out of beds for patients in isolation wards. The largest medical facility in the state – Indira Gandhi Medical College & Hospital- was packed to its full capacity, which was only 85 beds. Dr Rajneesh Pathania, Principal of IGMC, confirmed the report. According to media reports, DDU hospital, Shimla, had also run out of space. The government is yet to prepare the make-shift hospitals it had announced a couple of months ago. 

So far, according to the official statistics, the state had reported a total of 26808 cases till yesterday evening (9 pm), and the official COVID-19 death tally had mounted to 390.

HP Health Department COVID-19 Bulletin for November 9, 2020 (9 pm)

Update Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 for november 10, 2020

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Amid Alarming Surge in COVID-19 Cases and Deaths, Hospitals Including IGMC Running Out of Space

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Shimla– Amid the festive season, Himachal Pradesh is witnessing an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases and fatalities. As a matter of huge concern, the Indira Gandhi Medical College & Hospital, Shimla, has run out of beds in isolation facility and can’t accommodate more patient, unless someone is discharged or dies. There was space for only 85 patients at the hospital, which is full presently.

The DDU hospital, too, is running out of capacity with a surge in cases. Further, make-shift hospitals announced by the state government haven’t seen light of day. IGMC is the largest medical facility of the state and COVID-19 patients in critical condition were referred here.  

The situation could worsen due to the ongoing festive and wedding season. Markets are crowded and people are hardly following social distancing norms in marriages.

Further, yesterday seven people including a 16-year-old girl lost their lives. The decision to open schools seems to be backfiring as hundreds of teachers and several students were found positive for COVID-19 during the past few days. There are speculations that the state government could decide on closing schools for some time in the Cabinet meeting to be held today.

Details regarding the causes of fatalities below:

Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 deaths in november 2020 f

On Monday, five doctors and nine staff nurses at the Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Government Medical College and Hospital, Nerchowk in Mandi district, tested positive.

Yesterday, the state reported a record 711 confirmed cases with seven fatalities in a single day. Shimla district reported the highest 204 confirmed cases.

The COVID-19 death tally has now mounted to 378, while the total number of cases had reached 26197 till yesterday evening (till 9 pm).

HP Health Department COVID-19 Bulletin for November 9, 2020 (9 pm)

 

Himachal Pradesh covid-19 cases on november 10

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