Scientists from the Federal University of Paraíba (UFPB) have created an adhesive capable of healing, in 24 hours, a lesion caused by the herpes simplex virus. The very low-cost dressing, moldable to the size of the lesion, and which requires constant renewal, acts thanks to the controlled release of the drug Acyclovir in the region of the skin or mucous membranes affected by this category of infectious agent.
“The speed of healing of the lesion provided by the adhesive depends on the proportion of polymers in the composition of the dressing, the concentration of the drug Acyclovir, the size of the lesion, among other factors. Regardless, in our experiments, regarding the effectiveness and efficiency of “killing” the herpes virus, the regenerative adhesive had excellent lethality within 24 hours”, explains Kaline Ferreira, one of the inventors of the patent and currently a doctoral student in the University Postgraduate Program in Materials Science and Engineering at UFPB.
Developed from a blend of bioabsorbable and biodegradable synthetic polymers, the regenerative adhesive has a small dimension and a large surface area, facilitating the addition of pharmacological agents, mainly Acyclovir, and aesthetic comfort. Its size and shape as well as the concentration of drug available are easily adaptable to a patient’s needs, unlike current treatment through the use of Acyclovir tablets or ointment.
Kaline Ferreira explains that the characteristics of the adhesive can be modified as the proportion of polymers that make up its structure varies. It is also possible to modify the release of Acyclovir by modifying the structural dimensions of the dressing by controlling the concentrations of polymers used and the parameters of the manufacturing process.
The UFPB doctoral student points out that, even if it can be sold in any pharmacy, the Ministry of Health reminds that any antiviral drug requires a prescription. “Herpes is an incurable communicable disease because there is no antiviral drug that can eliminate the virus from the body once and for all. The lesion caused by the herpes virus disappears as the immune system of the individual recovers. During infectious crises, the main objective is to reduce discomfort in the affected area,” explains the UFPB researcher.
According to Kaline Ferreira, approximately two-thirds of people under 50 worldwide suffer from herpes. The World Health Organization (WHO), in its global estimates of infection with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), one of two genera of herpes simplex virus, indicates that more than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 or 67% of the population, are infected with HSV-1.
The regenerative adhesive was developed between 2015 and 2017, at the UFPB Materials and Biosystems Laboratory (Lamab), on Campus I, in João Pessoa, with the collaboration of UFPB professors Eliton Medeiros, Lúcio Castellano, Paulo Bonan and Joelma Souza and Master’s student Raonil Oliveira.
The patent was filed in June 2018, with the National Institute of Industrial Property (Inpi). The dressing development process will be released soon. Articles are undergoing peer review in international journals.
“We intend to speak with pharmaceutical companies to assess the cost-benefit of large-scale production of the adhesive. The Unified Health System (SUS) can use tricks like breaking patents on drugs or devices or purchasing the material, if a pharmaceutical company begins the process of commercializing the adhesives, for free use, through distribution , explains the UFPB researcher.