Silver Nanoparticles Fight HIV

Researchers from Mexico that specialize in virology have discovered that silver nanoparticles have the ability to block the transmission of HIV-infected cells by working against the protein that facilitates the virus adhering to healthy cells. With this knowledge, specialists have created a silver nanoparticle vaginal cream that is designed to stop the transmission of HIV. Even though the mechanism of delivery is a cream intended for female use, it would in theory protect both sexual partners from the acquiring the virus. The cream starts working within 60 seconds of application and lasts for three days.

So far the silver nanoparticle vaginal cream has been tested in human tissue and there are plans to test it using mice and then move onto clinical trials. In the past, treatment for HIV has focused mainly on fighting the replication of the virus after it has hijacked the cell and its machinery. This new development, however, would prevent the virus from even entering the cell. The tests so far have proved that the cream is very effective in keeping the virus from adhering to the cell, but further testing is required to see what the possible side effects could be.

Irritation at times can make it easier for the virus to enter the tissue. Since topical applications can cause irritation, scientists added an anti-inflammatory agent to the cream. If this cream proves efficient and nontoxic in further trials, it could be used to protect people from other types of sexually transmitted diseases, such as the human papilloma virus (HPV), along with sexually transmitted bacterial infections.

The same team is also working on a kit to test HIV-positive blood for its reaction to antiretroviral drugs. These kits could help doctors prescribe the most effective treatment for each individual patient. In order to fully develop this kit, many more clinical trials are needed.