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A microbicide should inactivate diverse pathogens and sperm yet should not disturb vaginal flora or epithelium.

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One of the challenges of developing a successful microbicide is to be able to distinguish between human cells that are dangerous, such as HIV-infected cells in semen (so-called "Trojan horse" white blood cells), and human cells that aren't dangerous, or are, in fact, helpful for preventing infection of the reproductive tract. One example of human cells that protect against STD transmission is the "barrier" provided by vaginal epithelial cells. This problem of distinguishing between similar things that are either dangerous or desired is also encountered with organisms that are either pathogenic (i.e., causes disease), and organisms that do not cause disease or are beneficial. For example, lactobacilli are part of the normal flora of the reproductive tract. They make lactic acid that helps to create the protective, acidic environment of the vagina. Obviously we would not want a microbicide to kill lactobacilli in the vagina; we would want to encourage their growth. On the other hand, a microbicide must not encourage the growth of other organisms of the normal flora which don't cause problems when kept at low levels. Examples include yeast, E. coli or Staphylococcus aureus.

BufferGel differs from many microbicides that are currently being tested with regard to its safety and its ability to protect "good" organisms and kill "bad" organisms. While BufferGel is not a "magic bullet" and has not been tested for every potential pathogenic organism, it has been shown in animal models to prevent a broad range of STD infections without damaging the vaginal or cervical epithelium. It inhibits many pathogenic organisms without killing the lactobacilli that are the normal and protective flora of the vagina.

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Last updated 11/24/08  |  Legal Information  |  Copyright ReProtect Inc., 2003-2008