260041 Inhibition of Viral Infection by Molecularly Imprinted Nanoparticles - A Synthetic Approach to Antiviral Therapy

Monday, October 29, 2012: 2:30 PM
Pennsylvania East (Westin )
Yen Wah Tong, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore and Niranjani Sankarakumar, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

Despite the current advances in the field of medicine and pharmaceutics, virus transmitted diseases are still one of the major health issues today with some of the most deadly and perplexing viruses being Ebola, HIV and SARS. Unfortunately there are no cure nor viable vaccines for all types of viral infections while currently existing therapies lose their effectiveness with time or due to viral mutations. To cater to the mounting demand for new antiviral strategies, we herein propose the use of high affinity polymeric receptors prepared by molecular imprinting technique to “catch” viruses.

Molecular imprinting is an effective technique that can generate tailor-made artificial materials possessing comparable molecular recognition and binding capabilities as with natural biomolecules like antibodies. It involves the creation of three dimensional highly specific binding sites in a polymer matrix (‘the lock’) that are complementary to the size, shape and functional group orientation of the ‘substrate’ molecule (‘the key’). Thus, molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) have been extensively used as substitutes for antibodies or enzymes in a wide range of technologies such as separation and purification, sensing, catalysis and drug delivery. In this research, our aim is to create surface imprints of viruses on polymeric nanoparticles and to employ the particles for "capture" and removal of any active, disease-causing viruses.

Virus imprinted polymeric nanoparticles (vMIPs) were fabricated using different functional monomers and surface imprinting strategies with fr bacteriophages employed as a model virus. The imprinted polymeric particles prepared were of sizes ranging from 40 nm to 570 nm using methyl methacrylate and ethylene glycol dimethacrylate as the functional and cross-linker monomers, respectively. A significant reduction in phage concentrations were observed after just 3 h of exposure to vMIPs. The imprinted particles further displayed remarkable positive anti-viral effect that significantly hindered phage infection of host bacteria as compared to the controls. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report demonstrating the use of molecularly imprinted polymers as anti-viral agents targeted at infectious disease treatment.

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