Muhammad Ahsan Khan ( Final Year MBBS Student, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan. )
Ahya ( Third Year MBBS Student, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan. )
Mishal Shan Siddiqui ( Final Year MBBS Student, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan. )
Madam, our current understanding of the COVID-19 virus and its vulnerabilities has not been translated into the approval of its standard line of treatment. COVID-19, although primarily a respiratory ailment, may culminate in acute respiratory distress syndrome, hyperinflammatory response, sepsis, and multiorgan failure, which often carry a grave prognosis. Drugs addressing such severities of COVID-19 are often limited by their therapeutic indices, bioavailability, and side effects, necessitating the exploration of new avenues to counter them. The ever-evolving field of nanotechnology presents one such example. Nanomaterials, by definition, are particles ranging from 1-100nm and owing to their size, porosity, adaptability, and easy tenability of physicochemical properties, are revolutionizing diagnosis, prophylaxis, and management of various diseases.1
Nanomedicine may even be a better choice in managing COVID-19 infection. A Graphene conjugated anti-spike antibody kit has been developed to detect SARS-CoV-2 at minuscule concentrations.2 Experimental studies have also demonstrated that metal-derived nanoparticles, AgNPs and CuNPs, have antiviral effects owing to their toxic ions and reactive oxygen stress.3 Nanostructured lipid carriers adhere to mucosa and may increase the antiviral potency of intra-pulmonary delivered drugs like salinomycin in COVID-19 patients.4 COVID-19 vaccine combined with double-layered hydroxide nanoparticles stops the infection early by silencing viral expression.2
Nanotechnology may also help in early diagnosis and prompt management of the complications of COVID-19. Nanotechnology-based biosensors can detect markers such as IL-6, C-reactive protein, and pro-calcitonin extremely early in the disease course hence, contributing to a better prognosis.5 The emerging antimicrobial resistance in septic, hospitalised patients can also be tackled by nanoparticle-coated antibiotics which have decreased risk of drug resistance and overall favourable pharmacokinetics.5 A similar benefit can also be appreciated in Nano-formulated dexamethasone liposomes delivered intra-pulmonary which may much better than free dexamethasone when targeting alveolar macrophages to suppress hyperinflammation.3 Furthermore, magnetic nanoparticles-based extracorporeal blood-cleansing has proved to capture infectious toxins on the basis of particle sizes and this can be applied in combating COVID-19 sepsis.5 Recently, macrophage-biomimetic nanoparticle (Mf-NPs) was developed which can neutralize endotoxins and downregulate 'cytokine storm', therefore preventing immune hyper-activation and ultimately sepsis.5
Despite the apparent appeal of these techniques, one cannot underestimate the drawbacks their use might entail. Many hypotheses regarding nanotechnology in COVID-19 need to be proved clinically. We highly recommend that more intensive research is directed towards this field to gain a deeper insight into their practicality and rationale for use and to adjudicate their short and long-term side effects and cost-effectiveness.
Disclaimer: The manuscript is not part of a research, PhD or thesis project and has not been previously presented or published in any conference.
Conflict of Interest: There are no financial, personal, or professional interests that could be construed to have influenced the work.
Funding Disclosure: There is no funding source to declare that played any role in the working of this study.
1. Vahedifard F, Chakravarthy K. Nanomedicine for COVID-19: the role of nanotechnology in the treatment and diagnosis of COVID-19. Emergent Mater. 2021; 4:75-99.
2. Sharma A, Kontodimas K, Bosmann M. Nanomedicine. A Diagnostic and Therapeutic Approach to COVID-19. Front Med (Lausanne). 2021 Jun 4;8:648005.
3. Al-Hatamleh M, Hatmal M, Alshaer W, Rahman E, Mohd-Zahid M, Alhaj-Qasem D, et al. COVID-19 infection and nanomedicine applications for development of vaccines and therapeutics: An overview and future perspectives based on polymersomes. Eur J Pharmacol. 2021; 896:173930.
4. Indiprolu S, Kumar C, Golla KV, Likitha P, Chandra KS, Esub Basha SK, et al. Pulmonary delivery of nanostructured lipid carriers for effective repurposing of salinomycin as an antiviral agent. Med Hypotheses. 2020; 143:109858.
5. Pant A, Mackraj I, Govender T. Advances in sepsis diagnosis and management: a paradigm shift towards nanotechnology. J Biomed Sci. 2021; 28:6.