Australia’s Starpharma has collaborated with the world’s second best condom manufacturing company, ‘Ansell’, to send Zika protective condoms to Australian athletes, before the Rio de Janeiro games.
Starpharma said that they are providing Australian athletes with Ansell company’s ‘Dual protect’ condoms, which are lubricated with Starpharma VivaGel, and which serve to hamper the infectious disease particles’ transmittal.
It is believed that bacterial vaginosis is linked to several other problems, among them preterm births, miscarriages as well as transmission of sexually transmitted diseases like herpes, AIDS and the Zika virus. According to CDC, several cases of sexually transmitted Zika virus have come to light. It has been duly advised by the CDC that men with known Zika infection should restrain from sex and use condoms to avoid Zika transmission to their partners. According to the report, signs of Zika virus were found in semen samples, 62 days after the person exhibited Zika fever.
Ever since this news was released, condom manufacturing companies are manufacturing condoms with extra care and precision. Australia’s Starpharma pharmaceutical has successfully developed a compound known as VivaGel, which acts as an anti-herpes, anti HIV, and anti-vaginosis coating on the condom. VivaGel is a water-based vaginal product of 3% weight/weight (w/w) SPL7013 mixed in Carbopol gel buffered to a pH which is physiologically compatible with the normal human vagina. SPL7013 is a dendrimer developed by Starpharma, and its highly charged surface allows it to bind to infectious viral particles. According to a study, the use of VivaGel has so far shown no side effects and has been well received.
According to Chief Executive, Jamie Fairley, the VivaGel coated condoms can prove to be beneficial against the transmission of STIs. VivaGel is an intravaginal cream which women usually use as protection against STIs. Starpharma VivaGel coated condoms are one of a kind. They have the ability to resist viral particles and lab tests have shown a 99.9% protection against HIV and herpes transmission, according to the company’s press release.
It is feared that Olympics being held in Rio, Brazil, would speed up the transmission of Zika. The tournament is estimated to bring 500,000 tourists to Brazil, which could speed up the transmission of the disease and make the process of manufacturing vaccines for this disease much harder. Therefore, this VivaGel condom will be an effective way to minimize the probability of disease’s transmittal.
The transmission of Zika virus through sex is a matter of concern for both the CDC and the condom manufacturing companies. CEO Jamie Fairly, in an interview with ABC News, said that the use of condom does not guarantee 100% protection against STIs, but is nevertheless a healthy way to reduce further chances of infection and disease transmittal.
The Australian Olympic Company (OLC) mentioned that these new Starpharma VivaGel coated condoms will be delivered to the Australian athletes and that there will be free distributing machines everywhere, supplying 350,000 male condoms and 100,000 female condoms to the Australian athletes.
The (AOC) also suggested that there is no need for the athletes to carry out compulsory blood testing and other STIs’ identifying tests, if they are following the given precautions. The AOC clearly said that other tests, like Blanket testing, are not considered to be the best practices to check for Zika virus in blood.