Scientists from the University of Waterloo have come up with a new tool that has been designed to protect women from HIV infection. The tool is a vaginal implant that diminishes the number of cells that the HIV virus can aim at in the genital tract of a woman. Unlike many other conventional methods of HIV prevention, such as anti-HIV drugs or condoms, the said implant takes advantage of some of the people’s natural immunity to the virus.
The Implant to Emerge as a Cheaper and More Reliable Method
HIV infects the human body by corrupting T cells which are put to use by the immune system when the HIV virus makes an entry into the body of a person. When the T cells keep quiet and do not make any effort to fight back the virus they are not infected and the HIV virus is not transmitted between various people. When these T cells stay resting, the state is referred to as being immune quiescent.
Emmanuel Ho, a professor in the School of Pharmacy at Waterloo said that some of the drugs that are meant for oral consumption never make it to the vaginal tract, as such this vaginal implant could offer a more credible way to encourage T cells not to respond back to the infection and therefore could more cheaply and reliably prevent transmission. He further said that what we don’t know yet is if this could be a stand-alone method for the prevention of HIV transmission or if it could be best utilized in conjunction with various other strategies of prevention
Ho’s implant drew inspiration from previous research that involved sex workers in Kenya.