The vaginal tract is a suitable site for the administration of both local and systemic acting drugs. There are numerous vaginal products on the market such as those approved for contraception, treatment of yeast infection, hormonal replacement therapy, and feminine hygiene. Despite the potential in drug delivery, the vagina is a complex and dynamic organ that requires greater understanding. The recent discovery that injections of double stranded RNA (dsRNA) in Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) results in potent gene specific silencing, was a major scientific revolution. This phenomenon known as RNA interference (RNAi), is believed to protect host genome against invasion by mobile genetic elements such as transposons and viruses. Gene silencing or RNAi has opened new potential opportunities to study the function of a gene in an organism. Furthermore, its therapeutic potential is being investigated in the field of sexually transmitted infections such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, respiratory disease, and cancer. This review will focus on the therapeutic potential of siRNA for the treatment and/or prevention of infectious diseases such as HIV, HPV, and HSV within the vaginal tract. Specifically, formulation design parameters to improve siRNA stability and therapeutic efficacy in the vaginal tract will be discussed along with challenges, advancements, and future directions of the field.
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