Contraceptive, Intravaginal Ring Combats HIV

Researchers engineered an intravaginal device that will act as not only a contraceptive but also protect against HIV and herpes, according to a write up in PLOS ONE.

Researchers engineered an intravaginal device that will act as not only a contraceptive but also protect against HIV and herpes. The device, which is about to enter clinical trial, was written about in the journal PLOS ONE.

Patrick F. Kiser, PhD, and researchers at Northwestern University worked for 5 years to create the complex ring. The ring expels amounts of a common antiretroviral drug, tenofovir, and a contraceptive, levonorgestrel (LNG) for 90 days. The ring is especially favorable since previous research has shown that women prefer long-term birth control methods, and pills that protect against HIV have to be taken daily and in large quantities.

The study outlined the challenges of designing, integrating, and measuring the efficiency of a solid device which expels both tenofovir and LNG used in in silico, in vitro, and in vivo methodologies. The ring, which is the first in a new class of long-acting multipurpose drug delivery systems, is a significant advance in vaginal drug delivery technology, the authors write.

“Tenofovir is highly water soluble while LNGis highly water insoluble,” Kiser said in a statement. “And the daily dose is different: the ring delivers about 10 mg of tenofovir and only 10 micrograms of LNG.”