Researchers from the University of Minnesota recently made an astounding discovery. Glycerol monolaurate (or GML), a widely used cosmetic chemical, might stop HIV from attacking the human immune system and thereby prevent AIDS, according to WebMD.
Testing on rhesus monkeys, professors Ashley T. Haase, MD, head of the university’s microbiology department, Patrick Schlievert and others, mixed the FDA-approved GML with KY Warming Liquid (a commercial vaginal lubricant). The mixture was given to five monkeys everyday before ultimately injecting the animals with a lethal amount of SIV (the monkey version of HIV). Four other test monkeys received the gel without GML. Surprisingly, the monkeys treated with GML were not infected during the study and only one of the five showed signs later on. The four monkeys that did not receive the GML pre-treatments all developed AIDS.
"The results are very encouraging. They point to a novel avenue to prevent sexual transmission of HIV," Ashley said during a telephone news conference.
GML is a surfactant frequently used in soaps, shampoos and other cleansers. In addition to its promising effect on HIV, scientists are looking for the common ingredient to provide other medical answers. "GML is presently being considered as an additive to tampons because of its ability to interfere with bacterial growth, including the bacteria that cause toxic shock syndrome" Patrick said at the news conference.
Many more monkey studies have to be completed before GML’s effectiveness is ready for a human test.
– Whitney Teal