At present condoms and surgical vasectomy are the only safe forms of birth control available for men. There are hormonal drugs in clinical trials that target the production of sperm, but these affect the natural hormones in men much like female contraceptives affect hormones in women.
Michael O’Rand and colleagues conducted Study to evaluate how a compound called EP055 binds to sperm proteins to significantly slow the overall mobility of the sperm without affecting hormones.The researchers found that EP055 may be an ideal compound for non-hormonal male contraception.
During the study, thirty hours following a high-dose intravenous infusion of EP055 in male rhesus macaques, O’Rand and researchers found no indication of normal sperm motility. Further, no physical side effects were observed.
“At 18 days post-infusion, all macaques showed signs of complete recovery, suggesting that the EP055 compound is indeed reversible,” said study co-investigator Mary Zelinski.
O’Rand and Zelinski indicate that more work is needed before EP055 becomes available for human use. The researchers have begun to test a pill form of the compound and will eventually conduct a mating trial of EP055’s effectiveness against pregnancy.
The study has been published in Journal PLOS ONE