Metal nanoparticles: The protective nanoshield against virus infection

Crit Rev Microbiol. 2016;42(1):46-56. doi: 10.3109/1040841X.2013.879849. Epub 2014 Apr 22.


Re-emergence of resistance in different pathogens including viruses are the major cause of human disease and death, which is posing a serious challenge to the medical, pharmaceutical and biotechnological sectors. Though many efforts have been made to develop drug and vaccines against re-emerging viruses, researchers are continuously engaged in the development of novel, cheap and broad-spectrum antiviral agents, not only to fight against viruses but also to act as a protective shield against pathogens attack. Current advancement in nanotechnology provides a novel platform for the development of potential and effective agents by modifying the materials at nanolevel with remarkable physicochemical properties, high surface area to volume ratio and increased reactivity. Among metal nanoparticles, silver nanoparticles have strong antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral potential to boost the host immunity against pathogen attack. Nevertheless, the interaction of silver nanoparticles with viruses is a largely unexplored field. The present review discusses antiviral activity of the metal nanoparticles, especially the mechanism of action of silver nanoparticles, against different viruses such HSV, HIV, HBV, MPV, RSV, etc. It is also focused on how silver nanoparticles can be used in therapeutics by considering their cytotoxic level, to avoid human and environmental risks.

Keywords: Cytotoxicity; drug resistant; immunity booster; nanoparticles; nanoshield; virucidal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Metal Nanoparticles* / chemistry
  • Nanotechnology
  • Silver / chemistry
  • Silver / pharmacology
  • Virus Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Virus Diseases / virology*


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Silver