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COVID-19 and nanotechnology: the risks of forgetting nanosafety in the fight against the pandemic

11/Aug/2020 Research DICOMOSA

Vanessa Valdiglesias and Blanca Laffon published last June a letter to the editor in the journal Nanotoxicology, “The impact of nanotechnology in the current universal COVID-19 crisis. Let’s not forget nanosafety!. In this, the researchers of DICOMOSA group make a brief review of the state of the research that is being carried out worldwide since the beginning of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, with the purpose of improving its prevention, detection and treatment.

In particular, the authors review the role of nanotechnology in the fight against COVID-19, pointing out the increasing expansion that this research area is experiencing.

Nanomaterials are the same size as the viruses, allowing them to get closely in touch with them, and have interesting properties that scientists are using in the current health crisis to tackle the pandemic. For example, one of the most promising applications is the use of nanoparticles as carriers that deliver antiviral candidates or drugs directly next to the virus. Furthermore, some nanomaterials are already being used on a regular basis in different areas, such as the use of nanofibres in masks that facilitate breathing and improve filtration, or cleaning products that incorporate silver nanoparticles to intensify their disinfecting power, among others.

We must not forget the strong reactivity (and sometimes toxicity) that nanomaterials present due to their particular properties. In this sense, it is not always possible to predict with certainty what effects they may cause in the body and in the environment. The rapid development of nanotechnology due to the urgency caused by COVID-19 makes it necessary to intensify the research in nanotoxicology and nanosafety, since nanomaterials should not be used without the pertinent regulation and evaluations.

The perspective offered by nanotechnology is fabulous but requires parallel research on the behavior and effect of nanoparticles at all levels. In this way we can avoid possible adversities in the coming years.

The original letter in Nanotoxicology

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