A lubricant that is made with cow snot could potentially protect against the likes of HIV and herpes, scientists have said.
Lab experiments conducted by scientists proved that the gel could beat the sexually transmitted infections.
Human cells that were first treated with the lubricant were 70 to 80% less likely to get infected with HIV and herpes, in what was an astonishing result for the team.
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The researchers said their "promising" creation could slow the spread of STIs, if the product would become publicly available after further tests have been conducted.
The main component of mucus is a protein called mucin which is believed to possess antiviral properties.
The researchers, from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, had examined whether mucus could stop STIs from entering the body and spreading in the same way.
The team was headed by researcher Hongji Yan, who extracted mucus from cow salivary glands before turning it into a mucin-based lubricant.
The results of the study was published in the scientific journal Advanced Science, and showed that only 30% of cells mixed with the lubricant and HIV became infected.
For comparison, 100% of human cells exposed to just HIV became infected.
Meanwhile, just 20% of human cells mixed with the gel and HPV became infected as researchers confirmed the results illustrated that the gel stopped the transmission of HIV by 70% and herpes by 80%.
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According to scientists, there is little risk of side effects or antiviral resistance when using the lube as mucin is already in the body.
Mr Yan said the gel could help people "take greater control of their sexual health".
He said: "It could offer protection when condom protection is not an available option, or even as back-up protection in case of condom failure or incorrect use. It could be used in both female-to-male sex and male-to-male sex."
STI rates had been gradually creeping up before Covid struck but due to mandated lockdowns, STI rates had begun to decline since people were unable to meet up.
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