Viruses originating from birds and animals are known as zoonotic viruses. When these viruses are transmitted to humans through direct or indirect contact with infected populations, they cause a zoonotic spillover. Approximately 70% of infectious diseases over the last three decades are zoonotic. Because no immediate diagnosis or effective cure is available for the new virus, outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics are likely to spread rapidly.
Such viruses include Influenza A, Ebola, and three coronaviruses. Coronaviruses (CoV) have caused life-threatening epidemics such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV in the last five decades. The ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic is one such zoonotic virus that has rapidly caused over 211 million infections and over 4.43 million deaths worldwide since December 2019. The severe acute respiratory syndrome virus (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent of COVID-19, is a novel coronavirus strain transmitted by mammals.
Viruses and nanoparticles are in a comparable size range. The latter having attractive properties such as small size, large surface-to-volume ratio, susceptibility to modification, and intrinsic viricidal activity. Therefore, scientists functionalize nanoparticles to act against these pathogenic viruses in a clinical strategy. In a recent review published in the journal Microbial Pathogenesis, researchers look at the novel solutions against zoonotic viruses provided by nanotechnology.
Scope and classification of nanomaterials
Nanomaterials are described as ‘materials containing structural nanoelements which considerably improve or cause qualitatively new physical, chemical, biological, mechanical, and other properties.’ Excellent properties like the high surface area to volume ratio, high thermal conductivity, and faster signal transduction make the nanomaterials useful in clinical and biomedical applications. For example, nanomaterials in viral diagnostics have advanced sensitivity, the capability of multiplexing, and cost-effectiveness.
Detection of viruses
Rapid and reliable diagnostics is crucial to defend against any viral outbreak, especially in the case of a highly virulent strain. Conventional molecular diagnostic techniques rely on the amplification of the viral nucleic acids. However, these methods are time-consuming processes with lower specificity and accuracy – nanotechnology can remarkably address the challenges. Immobilizing specific ligands on the nanometric scale, nanotechnology is employed for molecular imaging and profiling in diagnostics.
Nanosensors, for rapid biosensing of virus-associated proteins, are advances in nanotechnology that are widely employed. Nano-sensors are nanoparticle-based devices that can sense signals at a nanoscale comprising three major components; a signal transducer, a receiver, and a detector with a monitoring output. Using these highly sensitive nano-sensors along with other analyzing instruments increases the detection efficiency and also helps deal with the point-of-care type (POCT) pervasive detection systems.
Novel magnetic relaxation nanosensors are used to rapidly detect influenza-associated proteins, adenovirus, and Herpes simplex virus (HSV). Few examples include: multiplex colorimetric paper-based analytical devices using silver nanoparticles can detect MERS-CoV, gold nanoparticles and quantum dots stain for HPV (Human papillomavirus), and chiroimmunosensors can detect infectious bronchitis virus.
Within a day of testing positive for covid-19 in June, Miranda Kelly was sick enough to be scared. At 44, with diabetes and high blood pressure, Kelly, a certified nursing assistant, was having trouble [...]
A technology developed at Vanderbilt University Medical Center has led to the discovery of an "ultra-potent" monoclonal antibody against multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, including the delta variant. The antibody [...]
Research has found a significant fall in levels of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, 6 months after the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Clinical evidence also suggests that the risk [...]
Are the COVID vaccines substantially different from/inferior to other vaccines in terms of their effectiveness? The issue raised, and I'm mostly paraphrasing here, is this: Most vaccines (e.g. measles, smallpox) have efficacy defined such [...]
The EVONANO platform allows scientists to grow virtual tumors and use artificial intelligence to automatically optimize the design of nanoparticles to treat them. The ability to grow and treat virtual tumors is an [...]
Modern Approaches to Augmentation of Brain Function Available from Springer Press This book covers recent advances in neural technology that provide for enhancements for brain function. It addresses a broad range of neural phenomena [...]
Although the currently available COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective, limited manufacturing capacity and the need for cold-chain storage hinder their global distribution. A recent study tested the efficacy of a new adeno-associated virus (AAV) [...]
Fully vaccinated people were 11 times less likely to die of COVID and 10 times less likely to be hospitalized compared to the unvaccinated since highly contagious Delta became the most common variant, US [...]
The highly-infectious Delta coronavirus variant has spread to at least 174 countries worldwide, from the US to Australia, causing a surge in COVID-19 cases. The variant has mutations that help it partially escape the immune response produced by [...]
Fragile mRNA molecules used in COVID-19 vaccines can’t get into cells on their own. They owe their success to lipid nanoparticles that took decades to refine. Messenger RNA (mRNA) is having a moment. This [...]
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed critical knowledge gaps and assumptions concerning how respiratory viruses spread between hosts. Traditionally thought to be spread mainly through large respiratory droplets produced by the coughs and sneezes of sick individuals, [...]
SARS-CoV-2 is just one of nonillions of viruses on our planet, and scientists are rapidly identifying legions of new species. Mya Breitbart has hunted novel viruses in African termite mounds, Antarctic seals and water [...]
As a team of South African researchers we have identified a new lineage of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19. A lineage represents a genetically distinct virus population with a common ancestor. This virus may be designated as a variant [...]