Cow Mucus-Inspired Lubricant May Prevent STIs. Wait, What?

A new study found that lubricant derived from cow mucus is 70-80% effective at preventing HIV and herpes infection.

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Daniel Quiceno via Unsplash

A recent Daily Mail article discussed an interesting new personal lubricant that may offer protection from STIs such as HIV or herpes. The lubricant itself is derived from cow mucus, and its main component, called mucin, may have antiviral properties. A team of researchers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden decided to put it to the test.

In laboratory studies, the scientists exposed healthy human cells to sexually transmitted infections, and found that of the cells that were exposed to the lubricant, only 30% became infected. For context, 100% of the cells that weren’t exposed to the lubricant became infected.

Apparently the lube works the same way mucus does in the body, by trapping virus particles and clearing them from the body. Additionally, the mucin in the lube hinders immune cell activation, which promotes the replication of HIV in the body.