Nanotechnology is still in its early days, and whether it will be of value to resource-poor countries is still hotly debated.
Critics argue that when millions of people in countries like India or those in Sub-Saharan Africa are dying because of a lack of access to even basic healthcare, investing in cutting-edge technologies is a ludicrous waste of money.
And experts are concerned that the toxicity of nanoparticles to human health and the environment has not been studied extensively enough.
For instance, a 2004 report by the UK Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering recommended that nanoparticles and nanotubes cylindrical carbon molecules be treated as hazardous waste.
Some drugs can now be delivered through ‘nano-vehicles’. For example liposomes, which can deliver the drug payload by fusing with cell membranes, have been used to encapsulate HIV drugs such as stavudine and zidovudine in vehicles ranging from 120 to 200 nanometres in size.
Since both these drugs have short half-lives, the liposome coating could potentially make them active for longer periods.
However, nanotechnology carries risks, the primary one being lung damage. Studies have shown that most nanoparticles migrate to the lungs. Other organs are susceptible to damage as well.
Instead of inducing apoptosis, nanoparticles induced autophagy, a process that degrades damaged materials in a cell. Scientists have found that sometimes an over activity of this destruction process leads to cell death.
One area where nanoparticles seem to be growing in popularity is colloidal silver. Still, studies show cause for concern. Nanosilver may damage mitochondria, which leads to DNA damage.
Until further evidence concludes nanoparticles safe it may be best to use what has been true and tested for several decades and consider colloidal silver, without nanoparticles.
When illness threatens to put a damper on your holiday, turn to colloidal silver for a safe, reliable immunity alternative. The suspended silver mimics and works with our own immune system, charging it upon delivery.