While a vaccine for COVID-19 has been created and is in the midst of being distributed to certain groups of people, mutations and recombinations of the virus across the globe leave millions still at risk. With so many left susceptible, it’s crucial for the government and medical leaders to continue to identify innovative ways to combat the virus and fight to lessen the spread. In an effort to find alternative ways to combat COVID-19, scientists are exploring nanotechnologies that have proven to have groundbreaking impacts on the virus—even the persistent and unfamiliar COVID-19. Part of this new technology are nanoparticles, which have proven to be effective, simple, rapid, and cost-effective tools in the fight against the spread of this virus
Why Do Nanoparticles work?
Based on their tiny size, exceptional properties, and practical application, nanoparticles serve as an excellent resource in fighting viral infections. Nanoparticles’ unique and special properties have led to the development of new strategies against both human and plant viruses. Although the fight against human viruses is more crucial, combatting virus spread amongst plants is important too. With most humans relying on agricultural production to survive, stopping the spread among plants will have lasting effects that will benefit all humans in the long term. Nanoparticles also help to reduce the toxicity of antiviral drugs, which results in fewer side effects for the individual.
Although the use of nanoparticles is new in the fight against COVID-19, the technology has proven to be beneficial in fighting other viruses like HIV, HVS ‐1, HSV‐2, HBV‐A, HBV‐B, and influenza, being used as an antiviral agent or way to promote the immune system’s defense
Nanoparticles as Carriers for Drug Delivery
Their small size (average size is between 200 and 300nm) makes it possible for them to avoid renal extraction and in turn have a higher plasma half-life. Some of the most commonly used nano solutions are solid lipid nanoparticles (SLNPs) and poly nanoparticles (PLGANPs). SLNPs are able to carry antiviral drugs in their lipid core, making it an ideal model for drug delivery. PLGANPs have been used as a carrier for various antiviral drugs simultaneously – carrying up to three different antiviral drugs at the same time. PLGANPs carrier abilities prove to adapt well to wearable injector devices, which helps to prevent patient nonadherence. In general, nanoparticles are strong drug deliverers due to their tiny size, lipophilicity, and their ability to target tissues or specific cell-surface antigens. Depending on the chemical nature of the nanoparticle, the antiviral drug can be encapsulated and attach to the nanoparticle surface, allowing for drug delivery.
The Path Forward
Today, large quantities of nanoparticles are being produced all over the world to help combat numerous viruses. The rapid advancement of nanobiotechnology is making nanoparticles stronger and safer every year. In our fight against viral diseases, there is still a great deal of opportunity for nanotechnologies to help stop the spread of viruses among both humans and plants, and with more research and resources nanoparticles can continue to help save many lives. That said, check out our selection of nanopowders, namely Zinc Oxide and Copper Oxide for your research purposes!
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