Herpes is a disease caused by the Herpes Simplex virus. The infection which is caused by the virus is later on classified according to the infected part of the body. If the mouth or the face of the patient is affected, the disease is known by the name of oral herpes and is characterized by the presence of small blisters in the form of small clusters. These may give rise to a sore throat. If there are blisters in the genital area which give rise to small ulcerations, the condition is termed as genital herpes or simply herpes.
With an astounding 19 million people affected in the U.S. alone in the year 2010, there has been considerable research and development in this field to provide an immediate cure from this disease. Several companies in the United States alone are actively pursuing the development of anti-viral drugs through the development of nanomedicines, which are said to accelerate the development of antibodies against herpes. Until now, considerable research has been carried out on mice in which their vaginal mucus has been used as a breeding ground for the development of herpes. But with the administration of these ingenious nanomedicines, the development of herpes in these subjects has been successfully prevented.
How does nanomedicine penetrate the body’s natural mechanisms?
Part of our body’s natural defense mechanism, are things like a runny nose and tears. It does not seem welcoming to have either of these even for a fraction of a day but these secretions are the first line of defense against external malicious microbes that could wreck havoc with the body’s immune system. The basic consistency of these mucosal secretions is rich in protective elements, which is capable of trapping both harmful viruses from the external environment, as well as any concentration of medicine that can fight these microbes away.
A team of researchers from the John Hopkins Hospital has successfully created a set of nano-particles which can effectively penetrate the body’ natural defense system and remain viable in the mucosal environment long enough to fight away any viruses such as herpes. Aside from the creation of these nano-particles, the team at John Hopkins also broke down the basic constituents of Acyclovir into microscopic, nano-sized particles that have a significantly low molecular weight. They coated these nano-particles with a special PolyEthylene Glycol (PEG) coating, mixed it with a vaginal gel and applied it to the genitalia of female mice.
The result was the creation of a microscopic army which was slightly larger in size when compared to a single herpes virus unit. After this, they introduced herpes virus in the same area. The study concluded that the mice which had been given this gel via their vagina were not infected by herpes, whereas those rodents which were exposed to the virus without any protection ended up with the disease.
This research has proved to be a breakthrough for humans as the most quickly acting and the most reliable of all treatments plans. Since the entire human body is replete with mucosal secretions from the gastrointestinal tract to the respiratory system, there is ample stable ground for the implantation of this nanomedicine throughout the human body to fight away the ill effects of herpes.