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Charcoal Delivery System Can Help Control Genital and Ocular Herpes Infections

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tejabhiram Yadavalli, Ph.D
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Chicago, IL

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Charcoal black is a common ingredient used in the cosmetic industry, especially for the eye in products such as eyeliners. Traditionally, black soot obtained from burning clarified butter was used as an eyeliner and is still used today in various cultures across the world. Activated charcoal is highly porous in nature and has a surface area far greater than any other nanoparticle or microparticle known to materials science.

Since our lab works on ocular herpes infection we wanted to see whether activated charcoal can influence viral infection potentially by trapping the virus particles and rendering them ineffective. As hypothesized, we found excellent restriction of the virus from infecting the host. The most interesting results came when we applied charcoal in tandem with existing clinical antiviral (Acyclovir). This is where we saw that charcoal can absorb the drug on its surface and slowly release it over a period of time conferring protection for an extended period of time from viral infection. These antiviral drugs have to be taken multiple times a day to show comprehensive protection against the virus. However, we found that the drugs mixed with charcoal were need to be given with much reduced frequency to show excellent antiviral activity. This charcoal platform termed as DECON was effective in controlling both ocular and genital herpes infections.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Herpesvirus infections are ubiquitous and many suffer from this disease. Patients who have active infections are prescribed medications that need to be taken multiple times every day. However our study raises the possibility that DECON platform may be able to substantially reduce the dosing frequency. Also this delivery system has shown to trap viruses by itself and hence may be effective even when used individually. Given that charcoal is already a clinically used component, our DECON platform might not take long before it can be translated into commonplace practice. We also raise a possibility that there may be antiviral benefits of using charcoal based eyeliners.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: We have shown in our article that our platform is effective in controlling both ocular and genital herpes infections. Our immediate goals are to test formulation of the DECON platform for their stability and shelf life. Our formulations will be in the form of both eye drops and genital ointments. We are also planning to see if our DECON platform can be used in a personal lubricant formulation which can indeed protect partners from genital infections. Our long-term goals are to expand the types of drugs that can be loaded on to this platform and thereby not restricting our research to only herpes infections but to other STDs and bacterial infections.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Response: We have currently applied for a provisional patent for this discovery and hope to be able to commercialize the product as soon as possible. Our immediate goals as mentioned before are to generate a stable ocular and genital DECON formulation that can be translated for clinical usage as soon as possible. 


Drug-encapsulated carbon (DECON): A novel platform for enhanced drug delivery





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Last Updated on August 15, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD