South Africa uses nanotechnology, releasing nanoparticles slowly into ones bloodstream to treat tuberculosis (TB).
Researchers in South Africa are now making it possible for patients with TB to no longer have to take daily pills but instead can use nanotechnology to be treated. Although research for nanotechnology is expensive, it is believed that the benefits of this new treatment plan will far outweigh the costs. “TB is one of the leading causes of adult death in South Africa with approximately 460,000 new cases in 2007 according to the WHO.” The South African scientists from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research have made the four antibiotic pills that TB patients are required to take everyday into nanoparticles that are invisible to the human eye. Since they are foreign objects to the body, white blood cells pick up the particles and transport them throughout the body. Nanodrugs can have the ability to stop cancer growth, protect the body against infections and attack viruses and bacteria without harming healthy cells. Since this technology is homegrown it will be much less expensive than to buy imported antibiotics. Nanotechnology will revolutionize the health care system.
Source: Makoni, Munyaradczi, (2010, Nov). “Case Study: South Africa uses nano against TB” Africa Files http://www.scidev.net/en/features/case-study-south-africa-uses-nanotech-against-tb-1.html
Student Researcher: Allison Breivogel
Evaluator: Christina Knopf, Ph.D., Communications Professor, SUNY Potsdam
photo from Makoni