China's first liquid condom went on sale today after the country's health and drugs administration formally gave the hi-tech prophylactic the thumbs-up, the China Daily reports.
Dubbed the Nanometer-silver Cryptomorphic Condom (NCC), it's designed for female rather than male usage. The condom-in-a-can is essentially an antiseptic foam spray that the manufacturer claims forms a physical membrane inside the vagina, protecting it from infection, acting as a barrier to pregnancy and providing a lubricating effect.
It's not known who makes the NCC, but Beijing-based Chinese-Canadian condom maker Blue Cross Biomedical has been touting something along these lines for a while now. It maintains its spray-in condom "can effectively kill gynaecological disease pathogens such as staphylococcus aureus, Candida, coliform bacillus, and can prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
"It can remain in the vagina for a long time without destroying the vagina's chemical balance," the company adds. "Daily use of this product can help maintain genital hygiene and prevent infection by pathogens".
The condom's antibacterial properties presumably arise from the nano-particles of silver incorporated into the spray. Or do they? In South Korea last week, the Korea Consumer Protection Board (KCPB) lambasted local washing machine vendors for claiming their products, which are coated internally - not unlike... - with a nano-silver spray, kill 99.9 per cent of germs in the wash.
Not quite, said the KCPB - it's the hot washing water that's killing the bacteria, not the coating.
And, judging by the photo, we can't help thinking at least some customers will find applying the product more stimulating that actually putting it through its paces. Making whether it actually works or not a somewhat moot point. ®