Silver boosts treatment for brain-eating bug

Photo from EU Science Hub.

It is widely known that precious metals have several properties but dealing with Halloweenie bugs is a new one.

Turns out that silver is being used now to destroy a brain-eating amoeba called Naegleria fowleri.

In a paper published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience, researchers from Malaysia’s Sunway University explain how they developed silver nanoparticles coated with anti-seizure drugs that can kill the deadly Naegleria fowleri.

Most infections with the amoebae result from inhaling warm, dirty water in ponds, hot springs or unchlorinated swimming pools. Another species, Acanthamoeba castellanii, can cause blindness by entering the eyes through dirty contact lenses.

Silver nanoparticles coated with anti-seizure drugs kill brain-eating amoebae, like those illustrated here, while sparing human cells in vitro. Credit: Kateryna Kon/

Common treatments for such infections include antimicrobial drugs, but they often cause severe side effects because of the high doses required for them to enter the brain. So in order to increase the effectiveness of the drugs diazepam, phenobarbitone and phenytoin, the research group led by Ayaz Anwar decided to chemically attach silver nanoparticles to them because they knew the particles improve the delivery of some drugs and also have their own antimicrobial effects.

They found that each of the three drugs alone could kill N. fowleri and A. castellanii, but they worked much better when bound to the metal. In their paper, they explain that the drug-nanoparticle combos protected human cells from the microbes, increasing their survival rate compared with untreated infected human cells.

The scientists believe that these repurposed drugs, aided by the nanoparticles, might kill amoebae by binding to protein receptors or ion channels on the single-celled organism’s membrane.

528 0

More Silver News

Latest Stories

MSHA honours Massey operations for safety achievements

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in the USA has selected the Green Valley Preparation Plant and two mines operated by the Aracoma Coal Co to receive Pacesetter Awards for outstanding safety achievements. Green Valley and Aracoma are operating units of Massey Energy Co. The awards to the Green Valley plant and Aracoma’s Alma and Hernshaw mines honour operations [...]

Eyes on Indian Underground

increasing demand for coal. Industry observers believe that India is poised to become a major market for mining equipment, even larger than China, and this opportunity has led several global mining companies to open up shop in the country at least four


Bateman makes major acquisitions in mineral processing

As IM May is prepared for printing, with an article on developments in mineral processing, comes dramatic news from Bateman. The company has recently acquired the mining-process division of Intertech, with a strong market presence in the CIS. Even more significant, Bateman’s latest acquisition, announced as IM goes to press, is that of the Delkor [...]