Silver nanoparticles may be the cure for treating HIV-1 virus. According to the study, published in the Journal of Nanotechnology, silver nanoparticles with size of 10nm inhibit the virus from bonding to the host cells. The research is a joint project of the Mexico University, Nuevo Leon and the University of Texas, Austin.

Metal nanoparticles have been eyed to be the perfect subject for this study because of its proven applications on the labels of cells, cancer treatments, and biosensors.

The research began by mixing the silver nanoparticles with three different capping agents, namely: foamy carbon, poly (N-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone) (PVP), and bovine serum albumin (BSA). According to Miguel Jose Yacaman, from the University of Texas, Department of Engineering, and one of the authors of the research, it is important to use a capping agent in order to create nanocrystals instead of big crystals.

The transmission electron microscopy (TEM) showed that the silver nanoparticles combined in the foamy carbon matrix. The powder dispersed in deionized water through the process of ultra-sonication released a significant population of nanoparticles. These nanoparticles were in the size of 16.19 nm (+-8.69) and in the variety of shapes like elongated, decahedral, and icosahedral. To release the remainder of the nanoparticles from the bundle, the scientists used the electron beam.

For the second agent, PVP-coated silver nanoparticles, the researchers used glycerine as a dissolving agent. These elements were 6.53 nm (+-2.41) in size. For the final testing, serum albumin (a common particle in the blood plasma) was used. Nitrogen, sulfur, and oxygen component present in the samples stabilizes the nanoparticles.

After the testing of the three capping agents, the scientists studied the level of absorption in each sample to determine their shapes. The blue region of the spectrum absorbed the spherical nanoparticles. They realized that surface plasmon resonance peak wavelength increased with its size. The scientists tested each of the silver nanoparticle preparations in HIV-1 cells and they stored it at 37 C temperatures for 3 and 24 hours. After that, they found out that 0% of the virus cells were living.

The results showed that silver nanoparticle with concentration greater than 25 ug/mL is more effective at slowing down the growth of HIV-1 cells. Additionally, the foamy carbon, because of its free surface area, is a better capping agent. Size is also a major factor since none of the attached nanoparticles were greater than 10nm.

HIV-1, a subtype of lentivirus and one of the major causes of AIDS, is undoubtedly a killer disease. However, with continued study of known scientists for possible treatments, it is possible to find a cure for this. The research published in the Journal of Nanotechnology and the first-ever study of metal nanoparticles, already suggests that silver nanoparticles could finally be the cure for HIV-1 or even for other human viruses.

Although this research shows the possibility of treating HIV-1 virus with silver nanoparticles, the scientists still need to do further research. There is still a need to study the long-term effects of using metal nanoparticles to treat viruses.

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Source: Journal of Nanobiotechnology, Interaction of silver nanoparticles with HIV-1. Last Accessed: December 27, 2014. View the article screenshot here. Photo credit: Google Search, Human Resonance.