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Author: Subject: Virally vectored immunocontraception
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[*] posted on 4-8-2015 at 13:52
Virally vectored immunocontraception


I was interested in whether it might be practical to modify a conventional virus that affects humans to cause infertility by modifying the virus to produce either proteins that would cause antibodies to bind to the zona pellucida blocking sperm from attaching to the egg or a chemical that would artificially induce the cortical reaction to make the egg impenetrable to sperm or both.
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battoussai114
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[*] posted on 4-8-2015 at 14:05


Not-Sure.jpg - 6kB

Anyway, possible? Yes! Worth it? Not at all.
You see, we've been getting our antibodies to target what we want for quite a long time by vaccinating ourselves. But just by seeing how slow vaccine research is and how vaccines that use a proven technique sometimes go wrong I'm pretty sure it's just easier to use the good 'n old condom, surgery or the hormones as contraceptive methods.
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ziqquratu
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[*] posted on 4-8-2015 at 15:27


I think there's an important difference here between immunisation and antibody-mediated inactivation. In the former, you're training the immune system to recognise and produce antibodies against a particular antigen; in the latter, you're simply introducing the antibodies and bypassing the immune response all together. It's more comparable to things like the anti-D shot, in which antibodies against the rhesus protein (the "+" or "-" in your blood group) are given to a rhesus-negative mother who has a rhesus-positive child. If the mother isn't given the antibody injection, then she may develop immunity to the rhesus protein, meaning that if she conceives another rhesus-positive child her immune system may target it and cause miscarriage.

Regardless, even if the science behind the idea could be considered dubious (and I don't think that that is true here), "vaccine research is slow" and "vaccines can go wrong" are not arguments against it. After all, those statements are true of all drug development, but that doesn't stop us searching for new drugs!
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[*] posted on 4-8-2015 at 16:05


(In)voluntary human extinction movement?



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battoussai114
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[*] posted on 4-8-2015 at 16:58


Quote: Originally posted by ziqquratu  
I think there's an important difference here between immunisation and antibody-mediated inactivation. In the former, you're training the immune system to recognise and produce antibodies against a particular antigen; in the latter, you're simply introducing the antibodies and bypassing the immune response all together. It's more comparable to things like the anti-D shot, in which antibodies against the rhesus protein (the "+" or "-" in your blood group) are given to a rhesus-negative mother who has a rhesus-positive child. If the mother isn't given the antibody injection, then she may develop immunity to the rhesus protein, meaning that if she conceives another rhesus-positive child her immune system may target it and cause miscarriage.

Regardless, even if the science behind the idea could be considered dubious (and I don't think that that is true here), "vaccine research is slow" and "vaccines can go wrong" are not arguments against it. After all, those statements are true of all drug development, but that doesn't stop us searching for new drugs!


He is asking about using viruses to produce proteins that would trick the immune system into thinking the reproductive system(parts of it) is a foreign. Same concept as immunization in which you make your body recognize the proteins on the virus as a foreign and respond to them before it kills you, except in this case you'd be using it to purposely get an auto-immune response due to the protein/chemical you'd be injecting yourself in the hope of making your immune system act.

And yes, the statements are true to all drug development, which is why you won't get a big lab to spend money on it when they can use the non-novel very well established and cheaper method since, as you may know, medical research tends to be done with the purpose of getting that money thingy, the one makes the world go round.
Besides, the vaccine that caused the body to go around attacking its own receptors making people narcoleptic is an argument to show that sometimes unrelated markers are similar enough to be attacked by your own immune system when it should be targeting the foreign influenza virus... now imagine trying to make your body attack parts of itself without going haywire and destroying everything in the way. IF this is possible, it would be hard and medical researchers would probably be more interested in using this sort of concept to fight something like cancer, which doesn't have a completely reliable treatment, instead of reinventing the wheel when its not necessary. And a google search shows that this is what they're doing.

[Edited on 5-8-2015 by battoussai114]
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[*] posted on 4-8-2015 at 18:14


Yes something like what you are describing is possible and apparently has undergone considerable investigation as an alternative for castration, animal control, and human contraception. Most studies seem to be focused on vaccines rather than viruses for obvious reasons.

I attached a paper of interest though I only skimmed it it seems they had the virus express zona pellucida proteins and let the organism mount the immune response rather than have the virus itself encode an antigen.

This Wikipedia article also has a lot of info https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immunocontraception

Attachment: Immunocontraceptive effects on female rabbits infected with recombinant myxoma virus expressing rabbit ZP2 or ZP3.pdf (547kB)
This file has been downloaded 173 times

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[*] posted on 4-8-2015 at 19:42


Wow. This could really fuel those conspiracy nuts who think polio vaccination is a Western plot to sterilize Third World countries . . .

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poliomyelitis_eradication#Oppo...)

Anyway, seems like an interesting immunological idea. Potential side effects could be a problem, though -- how selective can you make it?




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[*] posted on 5-8-2015 at 18:08


Quote: Originally posted by battoussai114  


He is asking about using viruses to produce proteins that would trick the immune system into thinking the reproductive system(parts of it) is a foreign. Same concept as immunization in which you make your body recognize the proteins on the virus as a foreign and respond to them before it kills you, except in this case you'd be using it to purposely get an auto-immune response due to the protein/chemical you'd be injecting yourself in the hope of making your immune system act.


Ah, you're right... I misread the original post. Apologies!

Despite that, novel methods of contraception, which would contribute to their profitability, are of major interest to drug developers. The idea of a male contraceptive pill, for example, is something that a lot of researchers are interested in. For females, a new contraceptive that was more effective, more convenient or simply had fewer side effects than hormonal contraceptives would get a large bite of the market. In this example, I imagine many people would consider permanent contraception via immunisation to be better than having it done surgically.

This is not to say that the idea here would result in any of these outcomes; just that novel therapies would not be ignored because they would, in fact, have potential for profitability. The fact that we have a reliable treatment for a problem does not preclude interest in finding new ones - particularly if the new ones can be patented and yet still compete for market share because of their advantages over the current (generic) drugs...

As you state, the possibility of the immune system going after self in a harmful way is significant and well known, and people are certainly trying to harness that. That said, it might be entirely reasonable to expect that you could achieve selectivity in a case like this - it's not unreasonable to expect that sperm may produce proteins solely for recognising eggs, and vice versa, and that these would not appear on any other cells. And if it is possible to target modified self proteins found on tumor cells, why not go after rare self proteins on gametes?

Finally, the link crazyboy provided proved interesting - and demonstrates that the original idea is not only not crazy, but has in fact been seriously studied. And, from what I gather, autoimmune disorders have not been the major stumbling block - rather, poor efficacy appears to be the major issue.
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[*] posted on 11-8-2015 at 10:54


The reason I am interested in PZP or cortical reaction infertility is that it is essential a form of barrier contraception which can be defeated by microsurgery, to mechanically introduce the sperm into the egg.

This procedure would be expensive, maybe US$100K, so that the cost of having a child would be up front and prohibitive for the vast majority of persons.
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[*] posted on 11-8-2015 at 15:48


Quote: Originally posted by xxxxx  
The reason I am interested in PZP or cortical reaction infertility is that it is essential a form of barrier contraception which can be defeated by microsurgery, to mechanically introduce the sperm into the egg.

This procedure would be expensive, maybe US$100K, so that the cost of having a child would be up front and prohibitive for the vast majority of persons.


You lost me. First of all are you sure immunocontraception can be defeated by microsurgery? After all an immunogenic response to the ovum may prevent adhesion to the uterine lining or may induce attack by natural killer cells.

Second why would this be a good thing? I haven't figured out how you are imaging that this is used. If it's an alternative contraceptive I think a vaccine is a much better choice than a virus. But I get the vague impression you are imaging that this would be a virus that is released into the wild causing sterilization which is only reversible by the very wealthy.

Which is it?
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[*] posted on 11-8-2015 at 15:57


New and improved methods of contraception are not objectionable , infertility as a bio weapon is a crime against humanity. The prospect of covert actors fielding do it yourself biological weapons for mass effect is one of the motives justifying the surveillance state we now find ourselves in.



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[*] posted on 12-8-2015 at 12:49


For involuntary sterilization to be a crime there would have to be an inalienable right to reproduce.
If persons can be executed or imprisoned, losing the right to life and liberty, the right to reproduce cannot be absolute.
Under exceptional circumstances it can be lost.
There are other rights to consider, such as the right not to be born into a life too terrible to endure (about what would cause an ordinary person to commit suicide) and the right not to be forced to reproduce against one's will.
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[*] posted on 12-8-2015 at 13:13


It is the practice that such decisions are the province of individual choice.
Where this is not so , cannot by any measure be considered a free society.




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[*] posted on 12-8-2015 at 14:31


Well, suppose people started doing incest en mass as an act of civil disobedience with the specific intention of producing the most deformed offspring possible.
Since incest is illegal, for the purpose of preventing persons from being born with inbreeding genetic disorders, would the state be justified in using this method to control the situation.
Why or why not.
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[*] posted on 12-8-2015 at 18:07


Quote: Originally posted by xxxxx  
For involuntary sterilization to be a crime there would have to be an inalienable right to reproduce.
If persons can be executed or imprisoned, losing the right to life and liberty, the right to reproduce cannot be absolute.
Under exceptional circumstances it can be lost.
There are other rights to consider, such as the right not to be born into a life too terrible to endure (about what would cause an ordinary person to commit suicide) and the right not to be forced to reproduce against one's will.


You've got some bad logic going on here.

Just because a right is not absolute does not mean violating it should not be criminal. In the US it is illegal to divulge classified information, or specifically threaten someone with bodily harm (assault). But it is still illegal for the government to prosecute you for expressing a view they don't agree with.

Who has the right "not to be born into a life too terrible to endure" as you put it? By definition such an entity does not yet exist (unless you count a fetus). I would agree that one has the right to not reproduce, but you make that choice for someone when you sterilize them.

As for mass incest, I think you're example is rather absurd. That said incest laws vary between states and are based on customs as well as science. Your argument is basically, "people shouldn't be allowed to give birth if they have a reasonable exception of illness" OK, so where do you draw the line? Should people with family history of cancer, Huntington's, Alzheimers, dwarfism etc. be allowed to reproduce? An unborn person cannot make decisions so within reason this decision is that of would be parents.

Perhaps if we were on a space station with limited resources and people refused to stop having children which would imminently result it everyone dying such a virus might be an acceptable option (Earth is not such a system). Releasing a viral agent is rightly an act of bioterrorism, let alone a virus that induces sterility.



[Edited on 13-8-2015 by crazyboy]
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