Cow-mucus gel can protect against sexually transmitted infections

It’s described as a “lubricant” (lube). It’s made from cow mucus. The lead researcher and colleagues in a recent study, Hongji Yan, from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, examined whether cow mucus a.k.a. cow snot or saliva could be a barrier to the infection through human epithelial cells.

Cow mucus/saliva
Cow mucus/saliva. This cow is actually hypersalivating, but it does illustrate cow mucus! Picture believed to be in the public domain.

They decided that 80% of the cells grown in a petri dish and treated with the cow mucus gel and exposed to HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) were protected from the virus. For herpes they found that there was a 70% protection. The control cells i.e. those not covered in the gel were not protected and they became infected.

They put the success down to the main component of mucus, ‘mucin’. In humans, mucin molecules create a nasal barrier which traps virus particles.

These pathogens are then cleared away through “active mucus turnover”. The lubricant traps the pathogens and clears them from the body. The mucus also restricts the activation immune cells which fuel the replication of HIV in the body.

The researchers said that their study results were promising, and the mucus could slow the spread of STIs (sexually transmitted infections) if it is made publicly available.

Mucus produced by humans also acts as a barrier to infection in the same way. It is described as acting as a “primary contact site to entrap microbes and facilitate the removal from the respiratory tract via the coordinated beating of motile cilia”! ‘Cilia’ are small hairs that we can’t really see.

The main components of airway mucus in people are “heavily O-glycosylated mucin glycoproteins”. This comes from a study published on ASM Journals (Defensive Properties of Mucin Glycoproteins during Respiratory Infections—Relevance for SARS-CoV-2)

It seems to me that the researchers in this study have simply gone to cow mucus as an alternative to see whether it has any special protective qualities against STIs knowing that mucus has a known protective role in humans.

Some more on cows:

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful
follow it link and logo

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

At heart this site is about ANTHROPOCENTRISM meaning a human-centric world.

Post Category: Cows