VivaGel contains an antiviral compound that, when used as a coating for condoms, can reduce the risk of exposure to viruses that cause sexually transmitted infections. In the lab, the lubricant’s antimicrobial agent -- called astodrimer sodium -- inactivated up to 99.9 percent of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), HSV (herpes simplex virus), and HPV (human papillomavirus).
Earlier this week, VivaGel’s manufacturer, Melbourne-based Starpharma, received regulatory approval by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which is like the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. Receiving the conformity assessment certification means the product will soon be made available to consumers, like a CE mark in Europe.
After VivaGel is listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods -- this is the final step -- the company and its marketing partner, Ansell, plan to launch the VivaGel-coated condom under the brand LifeStyles Dual Protect in the coming months, the companies say in a press release. The condom will also be marketed by Okamoto Industries in Japan, where VivaGel has been approved since March.
"Condoms are not 100 percent effective in preventing either pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections," Starpharma's Jackie Fairley tells ABC. "So anything that you can do to reduce the number of virus particles by inactivating them with a substance like VivaGel would reduce that overall viral load."
VivaGel is undergoing trials in the U.S. for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis, an imbalance in the normal vaginal microflora.