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The special rubbers look to fill a gaping hole in the market.  (Source: Getty Images)
Send the secretary: these condoms fight disease!

After hours of pounding away at their research, medical experts at British biotech firm Futura Medical plc (FUM) were no closer to finding a way to convince men to use condoms when having sex.  But at some point all the hard work paid off and inspiration struck.  And thus the "Viagra condom" was born.

The little blue condom is the long lost partner of the little blue pill and it just might convince men to get off to buy condoms for a change.  Marketed by pharmaceutical giant Reckitt Benckiser, the new condom model, dubbed the "CSD500", is about to become a member of the Durex brand.

The device is close to receiving regulatory approval in Europe and the UK, with Reckitt Benckiser Group plc (RB) hoping to stick it in customers' shopping bags within a year.  From there, the company hopes that after more clinical trials, the device could get approval for U.S. shoppers as well.

Designing the special rubber was no small feat.  Finding the active ingredient was trivial -- researchers went with a proven generic vasodilator chemical, which engorges blood vessels to fight angina -- severe throbbing chest pain that occurs when the heart isn't getting enough blood supply.

But it was far rougher figuring out how to keep the gel with the active ingredient inside the condom so the vasodilator only touches the wearer during sexual intercourse.  There were also issues in the peer-reviewed medical literature on how to create such a delivery package.  However, researchers worked through these problems to come up with a viable product.    

States Futura Chief Executive James Barder in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, "The challenge is having a stable product in a condom — a gel that doesn't do anything detrimental to the condom. Some products can degrade the latex very quickly. [The vasodilator] has to be immobilized in the condom."

The company obtained patents on its findings to prevent any business rivals from getting dirty and trying to steal the secret of the special "raincoats".

Given the recreational popularity of Viagra, which seems to pop on all sorts of unauthorized outlets online, the "Viagra condom" seems destined to achieve market penetration.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) today are certainly a sticky problem for mankind.  But the new condom fights STIs both by getting men to perk up to the idea of purchasing protective devices and by ensuring the condom doesn't slip off the user during the heat of intercourse -- a surprisingly common problem.

STIs have long been sticking it to men and women, but with the Viagra condom those naughty microbes may finally get their long-awaited punishment, meeting mankind's stiffest resistance yet.

 





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