A new form of birth control for men may soon be on the market, but it doesn't involve condoms. A drug called Vasalgel was proven to be effective in a recent baboon study and will be tested in human trials next.
The drug is based on the medical technology referred to as reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance (RISUG). It was developed by Dr. Sujoy Guha more than 15 years ago in India. As The Daily Beast notes, the drug itself is non-hormonal and requires just one treatment to be effective for years. In a vasectomy, the vas deferens is cut, but Vasagel simply blocks the sperm by injecting a polymer contraceptive directly to the vas deferens. The drug can easily be reversed with a second injection that flushes the polymer out of the system.
A press release from the Parsemus Foundation says that the study involved three male baboons that were injected with Vasagel. They were then given access to 10 to 15 female baboons each. After six months, none of the female baboons had become pregnant. The Parsemus Foundation has since received funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and will begin human trials for Vasagel next year.
A drug like Vasagel poses many benefits. It would help to reduce unwanted or unintended pregnancies which, according to the Centers for Disease Control, accounts for half of the pregnancies in the U.S. It would also allow women to stop taking birth control pills, which come with a long list of potential side effects such as blood clots, nausea, high blood pressure, depression and the increased risk of heart disease. Unlike female birth control, Vasagel doesn't have to mess with hormones to be effective.
Parsemus Foundation hopes to have Vasagel available to the public by 2017 for, as they put it, less than the cost of a flat screen TV.
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