A group of researchers in the United States has found certain "good" bacterial communities which change HIV infection and replication among other sexually transmitted diseases.
The team has been able to grow human vaginal cells outside women and create surfaces on which both bad and good complex bacterial communities can thrive. It is the "first vaginal mucosal culture model that supports colonization by both healthy and dysbiotic VMB [vaginal microbiomes] from vaginal swabs collected from routine gynecological patients." Previous methods were unsuccessful.
The human vagina maintains its health aided by the good bacteria that survive on vaginal skin cell products. The bacteria create a chemical and physical defense against bad bacteria and viruses like HIV. The new testing method lets scientists study this relationship enabling them to determine the protective bacteria from the harmful varieties.
The model will also allow the study of vaginal applicants, both prescription drugs and contraceptives and over-the-counter products like douches. This has been difficult or impossible in the past in clinical trials. Now it will be possible to test current and future antimicrobial drugs and their interaction with the bacteria in a carefully controlled environment.
Richard Pyles at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston led the research scientists from multiple disciplines at UTMB and the Oak Crest Institute of Science in Pasadena, California. Their results were published on March 27, 2014 in the PLOS One journal.
Watch the video about a study done in China that showed condoms help boost the number of beneficial bacteria in women.