Inhibitory activity and mechanism of silver nanoparticles against herpes simplex virus type 1

Arch Virol. 2022 Aug;167(8):1619-1636. doi: 10.1007/s00705-022-05467-x. Epub 2022 Jun 1.


Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is a common pathogen that infects 50-90% of the world's population and causes a variety of diseases, some of which can be life-threatening. Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) have been shown to have broad-spectrum antiviral activity. In this study, we investigated the activity of AgNPs against HSV-1 and found that AgNPs effectively inhibited plaque formation and HSV-1 progeny production, reduced the genomic load, and interfered with HSV-1 mRNA expression and protein synthesis. Transmission electron microscopy showed that AgNPs interacted with HSV-1 and altered the shape of the viral particles. Furthermore, AgNPs affected the entry of HSV-1 into cells as well as their release and cell-to-cell spread. AgNPs were also found to downregulate the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines upon HSV-1 infection. Combined treatment with AgNPs and acyclovir (ACV) confirmed that AgNPs significantly enhanced the inhibitory effect of ACV against HSV-1. Our findings may contribute to an understanding of the mechanism of the antiviral effect of AgNPs against HSV-1 and help to provide a theoretical basis for their clinical application.

MeSH terms

  • Acyclovir / pharmacology
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Herpes Simplex* / drug therapy
  • Herpesvirus 1, Human*
  • Herpesvirus 2, Human
  • Humans
  • Metal Nanoparticles*
  • Silver / pharmacology
  • Silver / therapeutic use


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Silver
  • Acyclovir