A team from the Boston University School of Medicine (BESM) and the California-based company Jabbio has developed a worrying new contraceptive. The birth control method is a film that dissolves in the vagina and is rich in monochromatic antibodies that can attack a particular protein found in sperm. The method is certainly surprising – but as published in the journal Ibiomedicine, it has only been confirmed in the lab. That said, the results are certainly promising. Human contraceptive antibodies (HCAs) seem to be safe and they have the ability to grow strong sperm (this is basically what it claims to be).
The intermittent method was able to stop sperm even in very low concentrations. It was able to stabilize sperm in 15 seconds – again, it was conducted in vitro, but with the actual sperm of the volunteers. Antibodies respond to a specific protein called CD52g that is found in large amounts in sperm. Laboratory tests on tissues similar to vaginal tissue showed no inflammation due to the use of HCA. Senior author Dr. Deborah Anderson, Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, said in a statement, “HCA appears to be suitable for contraceptive use, and for any woman-controlled, on-demand method of birth control, it may be administered vaginally in a dissolved film.” Many contraceptive methods have significant side effects, risks, and costs for people with vaginal infections. There is no such problem in a new system that can be a game-changer. If HCA is such an approach, we will find out very soon. The first phase of clinical trials is currently underway.
“HCA can be used by women who do not use currently available contraceptive methods and can have a significant impact on global health,” Anderson explained. Unlike birth control methods, which target more than half of all people, HCA does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. However, the research team speculates that this may change in the future. Currently, only condoms can prevent both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV.
The team believes that standard HCA can be combined with other types of antibodies that are capable of attacking pathogens that cause certain diseases. This versatile approach can be truly revolutionary in both family planning and sexual health.