Friday, September 30, 2011

Nanotechnology and Infectious Disease

Infectious diseases are prevalent in the world and are one of the world's major sources of morbidity and mortality. Though infectious diseases can initiate in a localized region, they can spread rapidly at any moment due to the ease of traveling from one part of the world to the next. This could lead to a global pandemic. One key to preventing this spread is the development of diagnostics technology that can rapidly identify the infectious agent so that one can properly treat or in some severe cases, quarantine a patient. There have been major development in diagnostic technologies but infectious disease diagnostics are still based on 50-year technologies that are limited by speed of analysis, need for skilled workers, poor detection threshold and inability to detect multiple strains of infectious agents. Here, we describe advances in nanotechnology and microtechnology diagnostics for infectious diseases. In these diagnostic schemes, the nanomaterials are used as labels or barcodes while microfluidic systems are used to automate the sample preparation and the assays. Moreover, we will describe the use of nanotechnology as new approach for treatment of infectious diseases and for vaccine development.

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