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Inherent Nano-sized Microbial Warfare
By: Katie Schaefer, Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine
Posted: March 30, 2010, from the April 2010 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
Nanoemulsions have the potential to be inherently antimicrobial, according to Susan Ciotti, PhD, and David Peralta of Nanobio Corporation, a company founded on a nanoemulsion technology with antibacterial benefits. While most emulsions employ an oil phase, a water phase and a surfactant, the company’s nanoemulsion includes a second surfactant and a solvent. In addition, the process to create the nanoemulsion is proprietary and involves a few steps not seen in traditional emulsion making.
According to Ciotti, the surface chemistry is also different than conventional nanoemulsions. “The combination of surfactants at the interface of the nanoemulsion droplets and the way [the nanoemulsion] is manufactured causes the particles to have high energy, and they tend to fuse with viruses and bacteria to destroy them,” Ciotti explained. “It is a novel way of getting something to attack a microbial particle.” And although the droplets are high in energy, they retain a GMP stability of 3 years or more, and a longer non-GMP stability, according to Peralta.
Ciotti emphasized it is the nanoemulsion itself that is the antiviral agent and not an ingredient encapsulated within it. “Usually in the emulsion literature or products out [on the market], an active drug is encapsulated or combined with the emulsion and that is what gives the product its efficacy, not the emulsion itself,” Peralta concurred. “Our nanoemulsion droplet is what is doing the killing and creating the effect we desire. Even though the ingredients in the nanoemulsion individually are not antimicrobial, when added together and emulsified via a proprietary process, they become antimicrobial in vivo due to the high energy state and the surface activity of the emulsion.”
Treatment for Cold Sores
The technology has been investigated for a number of applications. “It can be used topically against any envelope virus, fungi, bacteria or protozoan spore,” noted Peralta. However, the company initially targeted Herpes labialis, or the herpes infection of the lip. Through a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), that target may soon become a reality.
Nearly five years ago, the company conducted a study to determine the efficacy of the nanoemulsion on inhibiting the Herpes labialis virus from forming cold sores. “We tested topical doses of the nanoemulsion up to 0.1%, and although we saw efficacy, we did not feel that we plateaued,” noted Peralta. A few years later, a second study with 0.3% of the nanoemulsion showed greater efficacy and proved to be the optimal dose, which generated interest from GSK.