Nanoparticles have ever-cooler applications. Here's another.
Researchers in India are developing a silver nanoparticle gel to treat burn wounds that could be more effective than conventional gels.
Burned skin is especially vulnerable to infection. Silver has been used as a purifying agent since ancient times, and burn creams have been around for some 30 years.
Silver sulfadiazine and silver nitrate gels are used in burn treatment as antimicrobial agents to accelerate healing, but some gels can cause skin discoloration and damage cells.
The researchers at the Agharkar Research Institute and Nano Cutting Edge Technology reported successful lab tests of a gel made up of silver nanoparticles 7-20 nm large. That's about 1/50,000th the width of a human hair.
The gel has 30 times less silver than silver sulfadiazine, and did not have any apparent toxic effects when applied to the skin of rats used for testing.
"These results clearly indicate that silver nanoparticles could provide a safer alternative to conventional antimicrobial agents in the form of a topical antimicrobial formulation," they wrote in Molecular Pharmaceutics. "Our study offers an unequivocal proof that (silver nanoparticles) work as a potent antimicrobial agent at low concentrations."
No word on when this could be commercialized.