Designer Gold Nanoparticles can Inhibit Infectious Viruses

Designer Gold Nanoparticles can Inhibit Infectious Viruses

Researchers from University of Illinois reported on December 19, 2017, that they have developed anti-viral gold nanoparticles, which can bind to wide variety of viruses such as Herpes Simplex Virus, Human Papillomavirus, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Dengue, and Lentiviruses.

These novel nanoparticles mimic a cell surface protein called heparin sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG), which is used by HIV viruses for binding and infecting healthy cells. Existing drugs have relatively low bonding strength due to which they cannot inhibit the viruses for long period resulting into reactivation of viruses when drug concentration is decreased.

Although few drugs are available to prevent infection of healthy cells from virus, they usually need to be taken continuously to prevent infection and resistance through viral mutation can be a risk.

When these nanoparticles are injected into the body they imitate human cells and trick the viruses.

When the viruses try to infect them, the nanoparticles use pressure produced locally by this link- up to inhibit the viruses. Researchers are planning to design a new anti-viral nanoparticle based on HSPG, which could bind more tightly to viral particles and destroy them simultaneously.

According to Nanoparticles Market report published by Coherent Market Insights, nanoparticles in different form have wide variety of applications in treatment of infectious diseases by inhibiting the specific functions of viruses. “We knew the general composition of the HSPG-binding viral domains the nanoparticles should bind to, and the structures of the nanoparticles, but we did not understand why different nanoparticles behave so differently in terms of both binding strength and preventing viral entry into cells,” said Petr Kral, from UIC.

The researchers used advanced computational modeling techniques to generate precise structures of various target viruses and nanoparticles down to the location of each atom. The anti-viral nanoparticle could bind irreversibly to wide range of viruses and destroy them without affecting healthy tissues. “We were able to provide the data needed to the design team so that they could develop a prototype of what we hope will be a very effective and safe broad-spectrum anti-viral that can be used to save lives,” said Kral.

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