Researchers discover potential of a compound to be used as a male contraceptive without affecting hormones, according to a new study published on April 19, 2018.
A compound called EP055 has been observed to bind to sperm proteins, significantly slowing the overall mobility of the sperm without affecting hormones. Scientists thus, believe EP055 would make a potential male pill without any side effects.
“Simply put, the compound turns-off the sperm’s ability to swim, significantly limiting fertilization capabilities. This makes EP055 an ideal candidate for non-hormonal male contraception.” said Michael O’Rand, lead investigator.
Currently, the only known safe forms of birth control available for men are condoms and surgical vasectomy. Hormonal drugs are also available in clinical trials, which target the production of sperm, however, they also affect the natural hormones in men and work similar to how female contraceptives affect hormones in women.
The study was conducted on male rhesus macaques, which revealed that thirty hours from providing high-dose intravenous infusion of EP055, no indication of normal sperm motility was found. Furthermore, no physical side effects were observed.
“At 18 days post-infusion, all macaques showed signs of complete recovery, suggesting that the EP055 compound is indeed reversible,” said Mary Zelinski, study co-investigator.
O’Rand and Zelinski, co-authors of the study, believe further research is required before EP055 is made available for human use. The team began testing the pill form of the compound and will shortly conduct a mating trial of EP055’s effectiveness against pregnancy.