Scientists discover male contraceptive pill is 99% effective in mice

Date:24 March 2022 Author: Leigh-Ann Londt Tags:, , , ,

Scientists who have been working on a male contraceptive pill have now reported that it is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy after testing procedures.

On Wednesday, 23 March, the findings of the male contraceptive pill was presented at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society, reports LADbible.

According to Sky News, the new male contraceptive pill is non-hormonal and successfully prevented pregnancy without side effects as the results from mice-based testing evidenced.

While women need to make use of several pills, patches, intrauterine devices, and injections to name a few, men have fewer options, mainly the choice of using a condom, which in many cases can still be unreliable or the option of getting a vasectomy which involves a surgical procedure that can be reversed, but is a longer-term form of male sterilisation.

The male contraceptive pill was first passed for human safety tests in 2019, but many of these targeted the male sex hormone testosterone, which led to side effects similar to the female pill such as weight gain and depression.

As per LADbible, while presenting the findings of this new male contraceptive, Dr Abdullah Al Noman said at the meeting: “Scientists have been trying for decades to develop an effective male oral contraceptive, but there are still no approved pills on the market. We wanted to develop a non-hormonal male contraceptive to avoid these side effects.”

To create the male contraceptive pill, scientists focused on a protein called the retinoic acid receptor alpha (RAR-α). This plays a role in binding retinoic acid, which is a type of vitamin A that plays a part in sperm formation.

Tests on mice showed that the RAR-α made them sterile. After four weeks, the compound named YCT529, dramatically reduced sperm counts in the mice and prevented pregnancy.

According to Gunda Georg, PhD, one of the leads of the researchers at the University of Minnesota, YCT529 will begin testing in human clinical trials in the third or fourth quarter of 2022.

Daisy Phillipson added: “Because it can be difficult to predict if a compound that looks good in animal studies will also pan out in human trials, we’re currently exploring other compounds, as well.”

Picture: Unsplash

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