LINCOLN, Neb. -- A major discovery that could prevent the spread of HIV- it was done right here at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
UNL was chosen by the Mintaka Foundation out of Switzerland to take this compound they discovered and turn it into a product that can be made on a large scale. It's still in the testing phases, but the cream made by UNL researchers could be available in the next few years.
More than 95 percent of HIV cases are in developing countries. That's what makes this development so important.
"Those are the people who tend to be very poor they don't have a lot of money to spend on healthcare," said Wallace Buchholz, the director of the Biological Process Development Facility (BPDF).
The Mintaka Foundation researched the compound and brought it to UNL for them to make it practical for women to use. They turned it into a vaginal cream.
"To be able to help this along, it's very gratifying," said Buchholz.
And they're making the cream affordable.
"It will only be a couple pennies per dose," he said.
"Making a product that's going to be used in a developing country we took that information and developed with the idea of trying to keep things as inexpensive as possible. So that was one aspect we were interested in and trying to contribute to society in that way," said Scott Johnson, the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Coordinator for (BPDF).
And while the goal is to help people in developing countries, these researchers believe this HIV prevention method could be world-changing technology.
"It's certainly going to be one step on the stairway to a cure or a good prophylactic or a vaccine," said Buchholz.
UNL did their job here in Lincoln. The HIV cream is now at a facility in South Africa being produced for phase one of testing, clinical trials in South America and potentially in the U.S. But, it still could be a few years before it would be available for people to use. Of course, pending FDA approval.