In today’s world, biomaterials play an active and essential role in the medical field. Naturally or synthetically procured, biomaterials aid in medical application to support, enhance or replace biological tissues and functions. With modern times, biomaterials have evolved from simple elements to complex combinations that involve fields of biology, physics, chemistry, tissue engineering, and material science.
With the whole world battling against the Novel Coronavirus, researchers and scientists are in search of stronger means to control the viral spread of the disease. As early as the rampancy set out, several trials had begun for introducing the game-changer - Covid Vaccine. To prevent and control this viral infection, it has turned into a prime medical challenge of our time. Innovative technologies are emerging that involve the development of new biomaterial-based materials and surfaces equipped with broad-spectrum antiviral properties.
To date, vaccination remains an effective stimulant against various infections, providing satisfactory to good immune response. Several vaccinations against infections like polio, tetanus, rubella, measles, mumps, smallpox, etc. have brought down the rates of mortality and morbidity among 97%-99% of human beings. Recent advances in biotechnology and nanotechnology have engineered biomaterial-based nanocarriers for new vaccines as well as adjuvant formulations. Nanotechnology focusses on building tiny structures and devices at the microscopic level. The combination of biomaterials and nanotechnology has the potential to structure more effective vaccines against virulent particles.
Added to better outcomes, nano carrier-based delivery systems include:
- Smaller particle size which facilitates drug delivery into anatomically privileged sites
- High surface area to volume ratio
- Providing stable structures for drug encapsulation
- Promoting efficient cellular uptake
- Mimicking pathogenic features
These properties combined, enable additional control over programming protective immune responses with adjuvants inducing humoral and cellular immunity, without causing ill effects.
Biomaterials have peculiar physio-chemical properties of size, shape, and surface characteristics, which in combination, greatly impact the efficient ways of loading cargo of interest. Additionally, biomaterials protect cargo from enzymatic degradation, improve stability, specifically deliver the immunogen to antigen-presenting cells, and elicit sustained release. Most importantly, biomaterials are able to co-deliver antigen and immune-stimulatory agents, which act as a powerful vaccination approach in the activation of immune responses.
Organic and inorganic biomaterials vary in terms of functional properties. The former has characteristic features of biocompatibility, biodegradability, and non-toxicity, whereas, the latter usually exhibit novel properties like smaller particle size, high stability, high surface area, and volume.
The recent advances in biomaterials are finding means to create the improved potential to overcome challenges through better formulations, delivery, and control of immune signalling. Material systems like polymers, lipids, and self-assembly technologies are working hard to maintain safety profiles. This outlook highlights ways in which biomaterials can advance the existing vaccines to safer, more efficacious technologies, and support new vaccine formulations.
Advancement in the field of nanotechnology and biomaterials could result in path-breaking results in the fight against life-threatening viruses like the novel coronavirus and other deadly diseases. Although the existing vaccines in the market prove to be beneficial, researchers have noted that biomaterials-based nanoparticles could someday render them stronger.