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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.
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According to Peralta, the principal products that show efficacy in treating Herpes labialis are oral antivirals. “Herpes is unique because it is dormant in the body and released when there is stress from a respiratory infection, sunlight, etc.” He explained that oral antivirals penetrate deep into the tissue, inhibiting viral pathogens and preventing the virus from spreading, whereas topical products do not penetrate well. The company’s nanoemulsion, however, is said to effectively penetrate; according to Peralta, “upon reaching the dermis, we lyse the virus before it lyses healthy skin cells and causes a fever blister.”
Upon contact with the virus, the nano droplets use the surfactants and energy stored within to fuse with and disrupt the viral membrane. Ciotti noted the beauty of the technology is that viruses may not become resistant to it. “Viruses can become resistant to other antimicrobial agents because the bugs get smarter and become resistant. [However, the nanoemulsion’s action] is totally physical. The viruses cannot protect against the lysing of the nano droplets,” Ciotti said.
While consumers have expressed concern for using products containing nanoparticles, which the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has defined as being 1–100 nm in size, Peralta notes that the size of the droplets in the company’s nanoemulsion is approximately 180 nm. In addition, the droplets are not solid particles. “Most of the nano-sized products raising safety concerns have solid components, such as silver or gold particles, whereas our nanoemulsion droplets are biodegradable materials.” When the company’s nanoemulsion droplets fuse with a pathogen, they break down, according to Ciotti. “There is an issue with hard particles because they are taken up and they enter the body. Our particles break up upon hitting the target, almost like a soft bullet,” explained Ciotti.
Other Antimicrobial Uses
The company is developing the technology for other applications, including acne. However, as Peralta noted, “Many things besides the microbial component contribute to acne.” The nanoemulsion can kill the P. acnes bacteria, but the company is investigating ways to target the causes deep within the skin. In addition to anti-acne, the nanoemulsion is being developed to treat nail fungus, ringworm, certain viral warts and cystic fibrosis. Ciotti notes that once people understand how the technology works, they find it novel. “Everyone always asks, ‘Where is the drug?’ The droplet is the drug.”
-Katie Schaefer, Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine