It’s the most common vaginal infection you’ve probably never heard of: Bacterial vaginosis (BV). It’s the culprit that causes embarrassing odors and discharge, and the reason many women visit their gynecologist. Nearly one-third of U.S. women of reproductive age have it at any given time.

As highlighted in this Atlantic article, “while women try to mask embarrassing smells, a more sinister truth also remains under cover: The bacteria responsible are putting millions of women, and their unborn babies, at risk from serious health problems.”

At Osel, our aim is to harness the body’s microbiome to improve health. This includes a live biotherapeutic, LACTIN-V™, which contains Lactobacillus crispatus, a type of bacteria that keeps the vaginal environment at an optimal low, acidic pH level. This helps kill or discourage other bacteria, yeast, and viruses from thriving. It may even help protect against HIV.

As noted in the Atlantic article:

“We’ve probably underappreciated how well women with L. crispatus can defend themselves against HIV and other STDs,” [The vagina is] the battlefield where we want to fight because that’s where HIV is at its weakest,” says University of North Carolina researcher Samuel Lai.

Osel has conducted successful clinical trials of LACTIN-V™ that have demonstrated efficacy against the recurrence of BV and other urinary tract infections.

We are currently in the midst of a Phase 2b trial to tract the biotherapuetic’s ability to prevent the recurrence of bacterial vaginosis following antibiotic therapy, and we recently enrolled our first patient in a trial to determine whether LACTIN-V™ can improve the success rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF) for infertile women with abnormal vaginal microbiota.

We have also bioengineered another form of vaginal lactobacilli, L. jensenii, to secrete potent HIV inhibitors, in our MUCOCEPT product.

To learn more about BV and its toll on women in America and around the world, read the full Atlantic article, which highlights Osel’s work in the field. And stay tuned for updates about efforts to bring the first effective BV treatment to market.