With the corona virus being such a large scale disease affecting millions of people all across the globe, there is a dire need for the implementation of fast effective diagnostic, preventative and treatment measures and nanotechnology being the current rapidly developing branch of science that integrates many scientific disciplines, it has the potential to mitigate this pandemic and alleviate its adverse effects. Nanotechnology uses various manipulation methods to design, synthesise and apply nanometre scale sized particles that have different, beneficial chemical, biological, optical and electronic properties compare to the bulk material.
Nanomedicine (Bys et al, 2010) is a branch of nanotechnology that mainly deals with the application in prevention, diagnosis, imaging and therapeutics of several different clinical conditions. Nanotechnology integrates many scientific disciplines to improve medical technology by combined expertise (Silver, 2004). The integration of nanotechnology and other scientific fields has the promise of developing new and improving current existing diagnostic and imaging techniques with increased contrast, sensitivity and selectivity using nano particle-based machinery.
Also, the use of nano sensors and probes could help us understand the effects of the novel corona virus at the cellular and molecular level such that advances towards the development of a probable cure or vaccine are met.
The pathogen, which is corona virus, that causes this disease has a size range of about 20-400nm, designing and synthesizing nanomaterials with a diameter less than that of the average size of a virus could possibly prove to be effective in preventing the spread of the corona virus through coughing or sneezing.
A nanomaterial is a material that has its basic unit with at least one of its dimensions in the nanometre scale. The implementation of face masks or face shields made of nanomaterials could be advantageous especially if the nanomaterial has its dimension in size ranges smaller than that of the average size of the virus. The nanomaterial-based face shield or mask could serve to be more effective at trapping the corona virus, in the case where a person is infected with the virus, when sneezing or coughing. If the smallest functional organisation of the nanomaterial has dimensions smaller in nm size than the virus, there will be no chance of the virus penetrating through and escaping to the air where infection of many other people is possible through airborne transmission. Additionally, in terms of prevention, nanoparticles of materials like silver exhibit antibacterial properties further research could be done to investigate if there is a material that can be manipulated to give similar properties that make it antiviral. Once found this could be an option for cleaning surfaces that have been possibly contaminated.
Once the virus has invaded and infected an individual, it is imperative that this is detected early so that treatment methods are commenced while the infection is still in its early stages to treat the symptoms and for better chances of survival. It has been shown that since the introduction of nanotechnology inventions, biomedical diagnostics and treatment of known diseases has evolved to become very effective (Kaushik and Dixit, 2016; Kaushik et al, 2017; Kaushik and Mujawar, 2018). Ongoing research in biomedical nanotechnology is looking into developing therapies that are effective and affordable to meet the requirements of personalized health care. Also, efforts in design and creation of smaller sensing systems that can be activated on smart phones (Kaushik and Mujawar, 2018) is a promising idea in combating the virus. This can be done using biomarkers that have increased selectivity (Dixit, 2016; Kaushik and Dixit, 2016; Kaushik, 2016; Kaushik, 2018; Tiwari, 2019). A lot of people nowadays own smartphones, so this development will mean that they have a detection system at their fingertips for self-screening and fast action towards therapy. Moreover, since the corona virus is easily spread, personalized health care will enable people to self-check for the presence of the virus thus reducing the number of people getting into contact with each other, this will manage the disease and prevent further spread. This way those who find that they are infected can immediately self-isolate and offload health care facilities and eliminate the risk of infecting health care workers.