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World's first male birth control injection could be available in just 6 months

World's first male birth control injection could be available in just 6 months

The revolutionary male contraceptive is reportedly effective for 13 years and is said to have passed clinical trials with flying colors.

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Congratulations, gentlemen. Soon you could finally be sharing the responsibility of birth control with your partners. Potentially ending the centuries-long tradition of placing the onus of birth control almost exclusively on women, a biomedical research agency in India has now successfully completed a clinical trial on an injectable male contraceptive. The revolutionary contraceptive passed the trials with flying colors and awaits approval from authorities. If all goes well, the product could be made available for men across the globe as early as six months. Do you hear that? That's the sound of women everywhere yelling, "Finally!"

According to a report by the Hindustan Times, the first-of-its-kind male contraceptive has been developed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a government-funded biomedical research agency. Designed as a replacement for a surgical vasectomy — the only male sterilization method existing in the world today — the contraceptive is reportedly effective for 13 years, after which its potency wanes. "The product is ready, with only regulatory approvals pending with the Drugs Controller. The trials are over, including extended, phase 3 clinical trials for which 303 candidates were recruited with 97.3% success rate and no reported side-effects," said Dr. R.S. Sharma, a senior scientist with ICMR who has been spearheading the trials.



 

 

"The product can safely be called the world’s first male contraceptive," Sharma added. According to the New York Post, the newly developed male contraceptive is a polymer called styrene maleic anhydride that has to be injected into the vas deferens (the sperm-containing tube near the testicles) by a registered medical professional. The injection is administered under local anesthesia, so those clutching their groins in horror at the prospect of having a needle stuck into their family jewels can calm their gonads.

"The polymer was developed by Prof SK Guha from the Indian Institute of Technology in the 1970s. ICMR has been researching on it to turn it into a product for mass use since 1984, and the final product is ready after exhaustive trials," said Sharma. Although researchers in the US have been working on a similar contraceptive, called Vasalgel, it is still under development. Drugs Controller General of India V.G. Somani revealed that officials are being extremely careful with the approval process of the newly developed male contraceptive product.



 

 

"It’s the first in the world from India so we have to be extra careful about approval. We are looking at all aspects, especially the good manufacturing practice (GMP) certification that won’t raise any questions about its quality. I’d say it will still take about six to seven months for all the approvals to be granted before the product can be manufactured," said Somani. Meanwhile, doctors are quite confident that the new product would be more appealing to men than traditional vasectomies. "Non-surgical procedures are always preferred over surgical procedures because they will be safer and less invasive. More men are likely to opt for it," said Dr. Anup Kumar, head of urology and renal transplant department, Safdarjung Hospital.



 

 

On the other hand, experts say it would take some work from the government too to make male contraceptives popular in India. "Two things are needed from the government for it to work; one is to make use of the trial subjects for awareness generation among masses about the product, and second is to offer higher incentives for people opting for male contraceptives," said AR Nanda, former family welfare secretary, Government of India.



 

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