Daily Free Press (Boston Univ.) (12.02.2013)
The Daily Free Press, Boston University’s (BU’s) daily newspaper, reported that the BU School of Medicine’s radiology department and the Boston Medical Center won a grant to develop a new condom that will lower the risk of breakage while still providing comfort. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the $100,000 grant through its Grand Challenges Explorations program.
“We want to make the condom better,” said Ducksoo Kim, a professor at BU School of Medicine. “We’re trying to make it more comfortable, more durable, and better functioning,” he added. Kim will lead the project, along with radiology resident Karen Buch.
According to Kim, researchers are developing a hydrophilic coating, which is a new type of nanoparticle polymer coating that reduces the threat of rupture. “We believe that by altering the mechanical forces experienced by the condom, we may ultimately be able to make a thinner condom, which reduces friction, thereby reducing discomfort associated with friction [and increasing] pleasure, thereby increasing condom use and [decreasing] rates of unwanted pregnancy and infection transmission,” he said. Developers will incorporate antimicrobial and antiretroviral agents into the coating to help reduce STD transmissions.
The grant was one of 11 Phase I grants awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for teams to develop the Next Generation Condom. The foundation may award successful teams an additional $1 million for further development. Buch explained that the condom under development will be lubricated by water, which will save the expense of additional lubricant.