|Nanotechnology and AIDS- The Recent Research
Nanotechnology is an emerging
technology that deals with sub-microscopic dimensions.
Nanotechnology is a technology that is linked to features of
nanometer scale. The technology constitutes thin films, fine
particles, chemical synthesis, advanced microlithography, and
so on. Nanotechnology thus defines the spectrum of activities
at the level of atoms and molecules with amazing applications
in the real world.
Although the research is ongoing
for 15 years but the development of the scanning probe
microscope (SPM), discovery and potential of fullerenes and a
related structure, the nanotube has generated the current
interest in the field. Fullerenes and Nanotubes are the
compounds made up of carbon atoms. The fullerene molecule is
composed of 60 carbon atoms (C60). A vast research is going on
fullerene molecules to test for their use as potential drug
delivery system for cancer, AIDS and other diseases.
The latest study in nanotechnology deals with metal
nanoparticles and their interaction with HIV-1, thus a step to
treat AIDS. It was found that silver nanoparticles of sizes
1-10nm when attached to HIV-1, prevented the virus from bonding
to host cells. This research was published in the Journal of
Nanotechnology, was a joint project between the University
of Texas, Austin and Mexico University, Nuevo Leon.
Nano granules has average
diameter that is nearly same as that of virus or ever smaller
and it is this small size that impacts the virus. The nano
particles generate a suspending isolation effect once they enter
the body. This effect can potentially block out the replication
of virus. These particles have a great surface adsorption effect
owing to their high surface area. This surface area makes virus,
metabolic product and virus duplicating parts adsorbed and
ended. When the nano granules enter the body they rub with the
rotating cells thus causing nano rubbing mechanical effect. This
can stop virus from affixing to the surface of cells and sheds
off virus adhering to the cell, hence opposing its transcription
In the latest experiments,
scientists mixed silver nanoparticles with three different
capping agents. Capping agents are the agents which if not used
result in production of big crystals rather than nanocrystals.
The capping agents used are: foamy carbon, poly (PVP), and
bovine serum albumin (BSA).
Transmission electron microscopy
(TEM) demonstrated that the silver nanoparticles in the foamy
carbon matrix were coupled and after that, an ultrasonic bath in
deionized water freed a large number of nanoparticles. These
nanoparticles were of size 16.19 (+-8.69)nm and had a vast
variety of shapes, such as icosahedral, decahedral, and
As explained by the scientist Yacaman, in the
synthesis procedure, the foamy carbon-coated nanoparticles are
more possibly to have broad shape distribution. Scientists used
the electron beam to free the residue of the nanoparticles from
the joined bundle.
While using the capping agent, PVP-coated silver nanoparticles,
scientists used glycerine as a dissolving agent. These particles
were of size 6.53 (+-2.41).
In the third preparation,
scientists used serum albumin, the most common protein in blood
plasma. The sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen chemicals in BSA
stabilized the nanoparticles, which were in the range of 3.12
These absorption spectra of the different
preparations were studied to analyze their shapes . Yacaman
studied that spherical nanoparticles were absorbed in the blue
region of the spectrum. Also, the UV-Visible spectra graphs
helped in determining the size of the nanoparticles. It was
found that the surface plasmon resonance peak wavelength
increased with size.
After this each of three silver
nanoparticle-preparations in HIV-1 cells were tested. Then
Yacaman and his colleques incubated the samples at 37 C.
The study found that a silver nanoparticle concentration greater
than 25 ug/mL worked more effectively at inhibiting HIV-1 cells.
Added to this, the foamy carbon was a slightly better capping
agent because of its free surface area. In these studies, size
also played a role since none of the attached nanoparticles were
greater than 10nm.
Scientists think the nanoparticles bonded through
the gp120 lipoprotein knobs on HIV-1, using the sulfur residues
on the knobs. The spacing between the knobs of ~22nm matched the
center-to-center nanoparticle spacing.
Though the study shows that silver nanoparticles can be used to
treat HIV-1, some more research is needed in this field to
further check the effects. Moreover, the longevity of these
metal nanoparticles is still a question mark and needs an
extensive research. Such tests will be done on humans to see the
Yacaman and his associates
confirmed the highly positive effects of silver nanoparticles
against various kinds of viruses. Certain Methicillin resistant
staphylococcus aureus are also to be tested.Yacaman also
researched the silver nanoparticles to be effective against many
Nanotechnology is also used in testing techniques to test
Nanometre-sized quantum dots can be made to tag biological
molecules for the recognition of proteins that point out disease
status. However, this technique doesn’t have those shortcomings,
which are attached with regular organic dyes used to mark cells.
Quantum dots could ultimately be used in clinical analytic tests
to rapidly spot molecules linked with cancer cells and HIV/AIDS.
This has the greatest advantage to developing countries, where
over 95% of new HIV infections occurred in last few years.
Quantum dot optical biosensors can also help in the detection of
TB10, which along with HIV and Malaria is accountable for 50%
infectious disease mortality in developing countries.