It seems to me that whenever researchers announce a nanotechnology application they always estimate that it will take five years before reaching the commercial market. Well, the researchers at the University at Utah are estimating five to seven years before their gel-based anti-HIV condom for women comes to market. From the media release on Azonano,
University of Utah bioengineer Patrick Kiser analyzes polymers used to develop a new kind of AIDS-preventing vaginal gel for eventual use by women in Africa and other impoverished areas. The newly invented gel would be inserted a few hours before sex. During intercourse, polymers — long, chain-like molecules — within the gel become “crosslinked,” forming a microscopic mesh that, in lab experiments, physically trapped HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) particles.
The crosslinked polymers form a mesh that is smaller than microscopic, and instead is nanoscopic – on the scale of atoms and molecules – with a mesh size of a mere 30 to 50 nanometers – or 30 to 50 billionths of a meter. (A meter is about 39 inches.)
By comparison, an HIV particle is about 100 nanometers wide, sperm measure about 5 to 10 microns (5,000 to 10,000 nanometers) in cross section, and the width of a human hair is roughly 100 microns (100,000 nanometers)
I’m not sure why there is such an emphasis on women in the continent of Africa as I’m sure if this product is successful, it could be used in many environments and by many women regardless of their geography.
From 1998 to 2008, researchers found a flying frog in the Eastern Himalayas along with 350 other new species, according to the World Wildlife Federation. From the media release on Physorg.com,
A decade of research carried out by scientists in remote mountain areas endangered by rising global temperatures brought exciting discoveries such as a bright green frog that uses its red and long webbed feet to glide in the air.
More details can be found in the media release.
In September, there will be two meetings, one held in London and another in Washington, DC, to discuss a collaborative research project, Regulating Nanotechnologies in the EU and US. I mentioned the meetings and registration information in an earlier posting here and there’s more information on Nanowerk News here.
I mentioned an event that Raincoaster was organizing, a 3-day novel workshop on the upcoming Labour Day weekend. Unfortunately, it’s been canceled due to one of the downsides of being a freelancer (when you get sick there’s nobody to fill in for you) and arrangements for the lodge/resort couldn’t be finalized in time.