The new gel was developed by a team of researchers from the Agharkar Research Institute, India and from Nano Cutting Edge Technology, an Indian nanobiotechnology company based in Mumbai. According to the scientists behind this innovation, the new gel shows a potent antimicrobial activity against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative organisms. It appears to kill a wide range of bacteria, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, responsible for a large number of burn infections. It also seems to be very effective with several strands of drug-resistant microbes.
Topical silver-based agents have already been used for decades to treat infections associated with burn wounds and to speed up the healing process of burnt skin. However, those agents present major side-effects such as skin discoloration, cell damage and loss of effectiveness inside the body. In contrast, the new nano-based formulation appears to be as effective as traditional silver sulfadiazine or silver nitrate gels currently on the market, and without their major side-effects.
The newly-developed gel is composed of nanoparticles, each with 1/50,000th the width of a human hair, and it contains 30 times less silver than silver sulfadiazine. Rodent studies performed using specific mitochondrial markers showed no apparent toxicity of the silver nano-gel when tested on the healthy skin of test animals [Mol. Pharmaceutics, DOI:10.1021/mp900056g]. According to the Indian scientists, the results of their study clearly show that silver nanoparticles can be potent antimicrobial agents at low concentrations and that “silver nanoparticles could provide a safer alternative to conventional antimicrobial agents in the form of a topical antimicrobial formulation."