Updated: Dec 9, 2021
Despite enormous economic hardship and the loss of countless human lives, the COVID-19 pandemic has also accelerated the research, development, and discovery of cutting-edge technologies by many folds.
One of such technologies – ‘Nanotechnology’ – utilizes unique ways to tackle viruses, where antiviral nano-materials can encapsulate viruses in origami cages, mop them up with nano-sponges, and target the lipid membrane surrounding enveloped virus particles. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have already successfully utilized lipid nanoparticles to carry messenger RNA into cells, offering us two very successful vaccines in a very short time.
Thanks to newer funding streams supporting studies on antiviral nanomaterials as pandemic countermeasures, including the Biden administration’s $3 billion Antiviral Program for Pandemics, R&D efforts have spanned way beyond prophylactic applications such as acting as delivery vehicles for medications or vaccines into the therapeutic nano-materials that can stop viruses in their tracks themselves. Some of these advanced technologies have proven effective against a wide range of viruses and bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) pneumonia, prompting the need for a clinical trial in the near future.
The novelty of this technology is still developing, with ample potential to become the next remedy for human diseases.
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