The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation recently announced that they were providing researchers at the University of Washington with a grant to further fund development of a new type of female condom
. The condom is made of an electrospun
fabric, which is capable of releasing chemicals that can protect against against HIV
. The technique, which was described in a recent journal article in PLOS One, can be used to embed small molecules with antiviral properties into a fabric that also provides a physical barrier against semen. This could, in theory, be used to create a female condom that not only provides the barrier protection associated with the current generation of such devices but also actively protects against viruses and bacteria using chemical agents. It would, in essence, be a condom and a microbicide
in one. That's a pretty amazing leap forward in contraceptive technology, if it works, and I will look forward to seeing how research and development move forward over time.