Researchers have developed a new nanoparticle combination as a broad-spectrum anti-RNA virus treatment.
The results of their study have been published on the bioRxiv preprint server. Note that as a preprint, this paper has not yet been peer reviewed.
Non-specific antivirals offer a number of attractive advantages. Their broad spectrum activity suppresses mutations, and would they also readily be at hand for future outbreaks. Nanoparticles are one possibility, with reduced toxicity.
Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are well-established as antibacterial and antiviral agents, and are the subject of many exotic biomedical applications. The mechanism of AgNPs is thought to be through physiochemical destruction of the microbial surface, with internal disruption from free Ag+ ions and reactive oxide species. Graphene oxide (GO) also has anti microbial properties. With its high surface area, GO also acts as a drug carrier.
The researchers produced seven different material combinations using three different methods: reduction with silver salt, direct addition of Ag nanospheres, and direct addition of Ag nanospheres to thiolised graphene.
To test the materials against seasonal-type infections as well as the kind of virus that could be expected from a future pandemic, the researchers tested the nanoparticles with influenza A virus (IAV) and human coronavirus (HCoV) OC43. IAV is an enveloped virus of the orthomyxovirus family with a segmented single-stranded RNA genome; it causes flu pandemics. HCoV-OC43 is an enveloped betacoronavirus with a single-stranded RNA genome associated with the common cold in humans.
Two of the GO-AgNP materials showed rapid, potent antiviral activity in solution against the viruses. The remaining five materials possessed a range of modest to no antiviral effects against IAV, the researchers reported. They observed a synergistic effect between the AgNPs and GO, with mechanism of action possibly being rapid disruption of the viral envelope. With high levels of antiviral agents, the combination of AgNPs with GO was found to show greater antiviral performance and lower toxicity.
“Our finding that graphene oxide/silver nanoparticle ink can rapidly prevent in vitro infection with two different viruses is exciting, and suggests that the ink has the potential to be used in a variety of applications to help reduce the spread of viruses in the environment,” said co-author Dr Meredith J Crane.
Journal information: Graphene oxide/silver nanoparticle ink formulations rapidly inhibit influenza A virus and OC43 coronavirus infection in vitro, Meredith J. Crane, Stephen Devine, Amanda M. Jamieson, bioRxiv 2021.02.25.43