When discussing the role that nanotechnology might play in global health, the benefits that nano-enabled strategies could afford in terms of improving the outcomes of infectious diseases and curbing their spread include the possibility of producing integrated point-of-care devices for fast and simple diagnosis and monitoring; the development of efficient, possibly self-administered, drug releasing platforms that do not require multiple administration; the engineering of vaccines with controlled properties that could boost the immune response against pathogens that have so far escaped traditional immunisation strategies. However, to achieve a tangible impact, it is crucial to consider from the very early stages of research, geographical and socio-economic aspects that are intimately linked to the local context where nanotechnologies are to be applied and to empower local communities to harness and develop (nano)technology-based approaches that suit their needs.
In a Focus Issue entitled “Nanotechnology for Global Health”, our authors discuss the scientific and societal aspects that challenge a sustained application of medical nanotechnologies in resource-limited settings. Giovanni Traverso and co-workers have published a review focused on nano-enabled approaches for the development of therapies against HIV, malaria and TB, while Joel Collier and co-authors have reviewed how nanotechnology can be harnessed to design more flexible and efficient vaccines against those diseases; Kimberly Hamad-Schifferli and Jose Gomez-Marquez have written a comment on how adding agency to end-users in the design of nanotechnology diagnostic devices might increase the impact of these technologies; Fabio Salamanca-Buentello and Abdallah Daar have illustrated the need for “nanoequity” in the design and distribution of nano-enabled medical technologies; Diana Bowman and Steffi Friedrichs have reflected on the effect that the accelerated approval process of the COVID nanovaccines might have on the regulation of future nano-enabled products.
We are very happy to host Giovanni Traverso, Kimberly Hamad-Schifferli, Fabio Salamanca-Buentello and Diana Bowman in our latest webinar from the Nature Nano Talks series, Nanotechnology and Global Health, where they will expand the discussion on the topics above.
Our panel discussion will take place on Wednesday 21st April at 3 pm BST. We hope you will join us.