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How silver nanoparticles become an antimicrobial agent to curb HAIs

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The antibacterial activity of silver is well established since the 1800s. It was extensively used in during the World War to treat burns, ulcerations, and infected wounds. However, its use declined after the advent of antibiotics. Nevertheless, researchers didn’t stop there. It was then tested for its disinfectant properties which turned out to be very effective and so its application has been used in different sectors such as silver-based air/water filters, textile, animal husbandry, biomedical and food packaging etc. In this interview, Rushang Shah, Director – Tranquiil Speciality Products explains to Raelene Kambli, how silver nanoparticles are extremely effective in reducing hospital-acquired infections and more

Can you explain to us how silver nanoparticles comprise effective disinfectant properties?

Silver has been considered as a key healing substance and its medicinal importance is known since 1000 BCE.  Silver is used as an effective healing substance in Indian Ayurveda and various medical research suggests silver to be a well-documented anti-microbial component that makes bacteria, germs and viruses inactive. Internationally, this unique component has been celebrated and accepted by the sanitisation sector since time immemorial and it is more important than ever to consider using this magical substance to consumer’s benefit.

How does silver nanoparticles become an antimicrobial agent?

Silver is considered very less toxic to human cells and there is very minimal risk involved in its usage. In fact, this is a substance used in wound dressings, creams and as a coating on medical devices since ages due to the presence of oligodynamic effect which is very toxic to bacteria, algae and fungi. One should also consider the fact that the antibacterial effect of silver depends upon the ability of the biologically active silver ion to irreversibly damage key enzyme systems in the cell membranes of pathogens. This results in disruption of the overall cell metabolism and function. Silver also mutates the DNA of the microbial cell, thus preventing cell division. All these actions result is microbial cell death.

What kind of impact it can have in reducing hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) within a given hospital?

Out of all the heavy metals available, silver is known to have the highest antimicrobial activity. The healthcare and pharma and many other industries like food production, etc., have been integrating silver ions into products solely because of its commendable capacity to self-sanitise and break the chain of infectious virus. The fact that silver is acceptable by a large number of manufacturers for its benefits in itself proves its efficiency in preventing many diseases including any HAI. Silver provides a residual effect of about 24 to 48 hours to the treated surface. This helps to prevent immediate recontamination of the surface with microbes. This property of silver is very essential for hospitals which carry the highest load of multiple pathogenic infections. Thus, silver can offer a preventive as well as the curative effect of disease control in hospitals and reduce the risk of infection to a considerable extent.

Can it also be an efficient nano-weapon against multi-drug resistance bacteria? 

Documented data on silver nanoparticles suggest that they are effective broad-spectrum biocides against a variety of drug-resistant bacteria, which makes them a potential candidate for use in pharmaceutical products and medical devices that may help to prevent the transmission of drug-resistant pathogens in different clinical environments. The antibacterial activity of silver nanoparticles against some drug-resistant bacteria has been established. The said study determined that silver nanoparticles (1) inactivate a panel of drug-resistant and drug-susceptible bacteria (Gram-positive and Gram-negative), (2) exert their antibacterial activity through a bactericidal rather than bacteriostatic mechanism, and (3) inhibit the bacterial growth rate from the time of the first contact between the bacteria and the nanoparticles. Silver at a nano dosage stands the great potential to tackle multi-drug resistant bacteria.

How can silver ion particles disrupt the cell regeneration process in a COVID patient?

The ACT-ION Silver in GermiGo enters into the bacterial cell, deactivates the general metabolism of the cell, inhibits cellular respiration, disrupts metabolic pathways and mutates the virus’ DNA/RNA. This ends the replication cycle of the virus, ultimately causing its death. Silver in GermiGo is effective on most viruses from the Corona family, H1N1 or even a broad spectrum of pathogenic bacteria like Tuberculosis, etc. Destruction of the cell is what we term as the killing of 99.99 per cent of bacteria and germs. Silver offers prolonged residual protection which will not allow bacterial regrowth, thus the formulation of GermiGo products has an enhanced performance making it about 20 times more effective than other sanitisers and disinfectants.

And can the use of silver ion help in reducing the transmissions in contaminated areas?

Absolutely, as mentioned above, silver offers a residual effect on the treated surface for about 24 to 48 hours. It acts as a preventive and curative medium to keep surfaces germ free for a considerably longer duration and prevents quick recontamination. The whole idea of the usage of silver is to destroy the virus cells and disrupt its growth and replication to avoid its transmission. It is essential that medical institutions, hospitals, retail outlets, kirana stores, and other public places leverage the benefits of sanitisers and disinfectants containing silver to ensure that hygiene is maintained at all times. End consumers should also harness this immense power of silver by using products enriched with SILVER ACT-IONS like Germigo.

How will the utilisation of silver nanoparticles by industry create a positive difference in the hygiene and sanitisation strategies in the country?

The fact that silver is being used in our cuisine, kitchenware, Ayurveda since ancient times presents a great amount of confidence in this wonder noble metal. Also, it is an element of natural origin, exists in our nature since ages. Currently, we are experiencing the peak of the pandemic and cases are rising by each passing day. While there are multiple resolutions that are being put forth to contain the seriousness of the pandemic, one should not underestimate the incredible usage of silver which has been known to provide best results when it comes to viral infections of any kind. As the saying goes, OLD is GOLD, we ought to revisit our own treasure of medical knowledge and rebuild innovative solutions on it to contain not only the current pandemic but also achieve a sustainable solution for any life-threatening infections. Hospitals, clinics, COVID care centres, and any other places regularly visited by people should take care of hygiene and sanity very strictly. I simply urge them to use products with silver ACT-IONS to rest assured that the germs are killed and the surface is clean.

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