In situ stabilized AgNPs and (Cu-Cur)CD dispersed gel, a topical contraceptive antiretroviral (ARV) microbicide†
The increasing scenario of sexual HIV-1 transmission and unintended pregnancies demands modern approaches to concomitantly tackle these problems. Dually active strategies with “microbicidal” anti-human immunodeficiency virus (anti-HIV) as well as contraceptive properties constitute one such strategy. Nano-metal and metalo-herbal technology was explored to develop such an approach with minimal toxicity. Synthesis of in situ stabilised silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) of 2–24 nm and a (copper-curcumin)β-cyclodextrin (Cu-Cur)CD inclusion complex was carried out. Cell viability and activity analysis revealed an acceptable dose of 500 μg ml−1 of silver nanoparticles and 10 mg ml−1 of (Cu-Cur)CD respectively. AgNP dispersed (Cu-Cur)CD incorporated carbopol 974p gel was prepared and characterized for its pharmaceutical properties. AgNPs, (Cu-Cur)CD and the whole formulation was evaluated for in vitro anti-HIV, spermicidal and antifungal potential. Results revealed that HIV-1 propagation and sperm motility was completely inhibited at folds of dilution levels. In vivo mating studies proved the contraceptive potential of the formulation. A pre-clinical toxicology study assures the acceptability of our formulation as an intravaginal product. The novel nano-metalo-herbal strategy was found to possess a potential for topical contraceptive antiretroviral (ARV) microbicide action with an undeniably safe profile to be used as a vaginal product.