In the world there are a huge number of viruses that can cause a lot of trouble to a person and harm his health. But it is quite possible that soon the viruses can be forgotten by developing a universal nano-gel that will be able to fight most of the known viruses. And, interestingly, the principle of the gel is “borrowed” from our cells
First of all, it should be noted that antiviral gels are a fairly common type of medication, but almost all existing samples can fight with only one virus or viruses of a certain group. Moreover, even though there are a lot of viruses, most of them have similarities in interaction with the cells of our body: specific receptors on the surface of the viruses allow them to contact the cell membrane and penetrate inside the cell. And if you break this mechanism – you can deprive the virus of the opportunity to harm.
This is what the group of researchers from the Free University of Berlin decided to do. In their work they used proteoglycans of heparan sulfate (HS) – these are substances that form the input “gate” on the cell membrane. Scientists have developed analogues of these HS-particles based on elastic nano-gel. Researchers have created several types of nano-gels with different degrees of elasticity, simulating cellular HS proteins. As a result, the resulting nanogels can easily connect to the virus.
Next, scientists developed two types of sulfated nano-gel against the herpes virus and arteriviruses. In the course of laboratory tests, application of these gels allows to “capture” up to 90% of viruses from the infected surface. In this case, as the creators assure, nano-gels are cheap enough in production and they can be used both for prevention and for treatment. In addition, the researchers say that the nanogel can also be used inside, as it eventually disintegrates and is completely eliminated through the kidneys. But this method of application requires further study and additional tests.