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Plasma Power: Fighting COVID-19 And Other Infectious Diseases With Ionized Gas Plasma Technology

Summary 

Ionized gas also known as Plasma has ultra-low molecular weight components which allow them to freely diffuse into biological membranes of bacteria, viruses, and fungi to exert their antimicrobial effects. Plasma-based technologies like Cold Atmospheric Plasma (CAP) help us in disinfecting surfaces, air, and wounds, and can be used as a  Sanitiser without causing any harm to the surrounding areas and tissues. They help in decreasing viral load and release of viral particles of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, hence combating the spread of airborne virus transmission through droplets thereby reducing the burden of disease. These devices generate plasma gas at room temperature, making them suitable for healthcare settings like sterilizing hospital equipment, disinfection, surgeries, and indoor environments.

Keywords

Antibacterial; Antibiofilm; Gas therapy; Nitric oxide; Plasma; COVID-19; infections; Ionised gas





What is Ionised Gas? 

Also known as Plasma, contains active components like charged electrons and ions, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and reactive gas species which makes them highly effective in killing microbial pathogens such as the virus causing the COVID-19 pandemic and other respiratory viruses, such as Avian Influenza virus and Newcastle disease virus, which were inactivated on surfaces using gas plasma within 2 min of treatment and 5 min of treatment for the human respiratory syncytial virus.


How does this work?

These reactive species of oxygen and nitrogen damage the cell membranes, proteins, and genetic material of viruses, bacteria, and fungi also making them inactive to replicate and infect.


How can this ionized gas help us against infectious diseases? 

  • Gas plasmas are highly effective in eradicating physiological and artificial microorganisms at the fingertips of healthy volunteers.

  • Plasma-mediated oxidation of cysteine is a strategy for the alteration of SARS-CoV-2 pathogenicity, supplied potentially even via anesthetic masks during surgery.

  • Following the release of the infectious aerosol before diagnostic and therapeutic interventions in the upper respiratory tract (e.g., rhinoscopy, bronchoscopy, and bronchial lavage), as well as before dental treatment, the application of gas plasma treatment in the nasopharyngeal cavity could be effective.

  • Consequently, early reduction of viral loads in the mouth and throat region of positive tested individuals likely reduces their infectivity and subsequently decreases further virus dissemination, while simultaneously reducing or even avoiding the drastic economic consequences of contact limitation and isolation. microbial decontamination of materials, surfaces, and goods.

  • Gas plasma treatment was well tolerated, and neither damaged the skin barrier nor caused skin dryness.

  • Useful for pollution control, including the reduction of airborne pathogens.

  • Thus, their use focuses on the recent advances in gas-releasing therapies against different kinds of bacteria, biofilms, and wound infections.

However, their efficacy depends on exposure time, concentration proper implementation, and surroundings.



Author - Dr Sameena Tabassum, MBBS, Junior Resident - All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) India 

Editor- Dr Sidhant Ochani, MBBS, Khairpur Medical College, Khairpur Mir's, Pakistan.


References 

  1. Wang TY, Zhu XY, Wu FG. Antibacterial gas therapy: Strategies, advances, and prospects. Bioact Mater. 2022;23:129-155. Published 2022 Nov 11. doi:10.1016/j.bioactmat.2022.10.008

  2. Hagbom M, Nordgren J, Nybom R, Hedlund KO, Wigzell H, Svensson L. Ionizing air affects influenza virus infectivity and prevents airborne-transmission. Sci Rep. 2015;5:11431. Published 2015 Jun 23. doi:10.1038/srep11431

  3. Bekeschus S, Kramer A, Suffredini E, von Woedtke T, Colombo V. Gas Plasma Technology-An Asset to Healthcare During Viral Pandemics Such as the COVID-19 Crisis?. IEEE Trans Radiat Plasma Med Sci. 2020;4(4):391-399. Published 2020 Jun 16. doi:10.1109/TRPMS.2020.3002658

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