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Viruses 2012, 4(4), 488-520; doi:10.3390/v4040488

Nanotechnology and the Treatment of HIV Infection

1,* , 2
1 Department of Virology, National Health Laboratory Service/University of KwaZulu-Natal, c/o Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, 5th Floor Laboratory Building, 800 Bellair Road, Mayville, Durban 4091, South Africa 2 School of Chemistry, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Varsity Drive, Durban 4001, South Africa 3 School of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 4001, South Africa
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 February 2012 / Revised: 15 March 2012 / Accepted: 27 March 2012 / Published: 10 April 2012
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Suboptimal adherence, toxicity, drug resistance and viral reservoirs make the lifelong treatment of HIV infection challenging. The emerging field of nanotechnology may play an important role in addressing these challenges by creating drugs that possess pharmacological advantages arising out of unique phenomena that occur at the “nano” scale. At these dimensions, particles have physicochemical properties that are distinct from those of bulk materials or single molecules or atoms. In this review, basic concepts and terms in nanotechnology are defined, and examples are provided of how nanopharmaceuticals such as nanocrystals, nanocapsules, nanoparticles, solid lipid nanoparticles, nanocarriers, micelles, liposomes and dendrimers have been investigated as potential anti-HIV therapies. Such drugs may, for example, be used to optimize the pharmacological characteristics of known antiretrovirals, deliver anti-HIV nucleic acids into infected cells or achieve targeted delivery of antivirals to the immune system, brain or latent reservoirs. Also, nanopharmaceuticals themselves may possess anti-HIV activity. However several hurdles remain, including toxicity, unwanted biological interactions and the difficulty and cost of large-scale synthesis of nanopharmaceuticals.
Keywords: Nanotechnology; HIV; antiretroviral agents; nanomedicine; nanoparticles Nanotechnology; HIV; antiretroviral agents; nanomedicine; nanoparticles
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Parboosing, R.; Maguire, G.E.M.; Govender, P.; Kruger, H.G. Nanotechnology and the Treatment of HIV Infection. Viruses 2012, 4, 488-520.

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