Nanomaterials Enhance Detection of HIV Drug Indinavir

A recent study submitted to the journal Chemosphere focuses on developing an electrochemical sensor for the sensitive detection of indinavir (IDV), an anti-retroviral HIV medication, by combining zinc oxide nanorods and molybdenum disulfide nanosheets on a screen-printed electrode.

Nanomaterials Enhance Detection of HIV Drug Indinavir

Study: A zinc oxide nanorods/molybdenum disulfide nanosheets hybrid as a sensitive and reusable electrochemical sensor for determination of anti-retroviral agent indinavir. Image Credit: PENpics Studio/

What is Indinavir (IDV)?

Indinavir (IDV) is a drug used to treat the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that works by inhibiting the infection, acting as a semisynthetic blocker of HIV-1 and HIV-2 proteases.

Due to indinavir's negative effect on human health, it is critical to developing an effective electrode for detecting IDV in biological settings. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), spectrometry, ion chromatography, and liquid chromatography-tandem spectroscopy are often used to determine indinavir. These approaches analyze IDV in actual specimens based on different sampling and offshore laboratory assessments.

Despite their sensitivity and selectivity, routine laboratory methods are generally inaccessible to communities with the highest need due to the high cost, infrastructural limits, operating capabilities, and a shortage of onsite operability.

Electrochemical Sensors for Detection of IDV

Electrochemical sensors are mobile, flexible, low cost, responsive, and have high specificity. These are essential for enhancing chemo- and bioimaging techniques and provide a perfect foundation for developing enhanced capabilities. As a result, electrochemical-based sensors seem to be a feasible alternative for tracking IDV in a rapid, measurable, low-cost, and large-scale way.

Molybdenum Disulfide (MoS2): An Important Nanomaterial

Over the past couple of decades, nanoscale research has gained widespread recognition as a remarkable technological field that has influenced a wide range of industries. Furthermore, it brings up a plethora of opportunities for developing and implementing innovative designs, products, and systems in a variety of disciplines, including farming, food, transportation, and medical research and development.

Scientists have lately refocused their attention on other graphene-like 2D compounds to overcome the shortage of graphene and broaden the range of its applications. Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), a multifunctional compound that has sparked a great deal of interest in nanotechnology and optoelectronic devices, is employed as a filler material and a catalyst for the hydrodesulfurization process.

As a conventional 2D layered material, it has excellent thermal resilience and strong electrocatalytic performance, making it appropriate for a wide range of applications such as detectors, electro-catalysts, superconductors, and energy storage systems. Furthermore, MoS2 with an uneven number of layers can produce alternating piezoelectric current and voltage impulses, suggesting that it could be used to operate nanodevices and wearable electronics.

Use of Metal Oxide Materials in Electrochemical Sensors

Due to their exceptional photocatalytic capabilities, metal-oxide compounds have gotten a lot of interest in recent years for use in improved electrochemical sensors. Zinc oxide (ZnO) has sparked substantial attention among metal oxide materials because of its desirable features, which include cheap cost, large availability, and a broad energy bandgap. These nanoparticles are susceptible to many contaminants, including practically all major metal ions and organic compounds.

In this work, ZnO and MoS2 were combined as electrochemical electrodes to create a multifunctional film-modified electrode for the fast monitoring of anti-retroviral (HIV) drugs. The anti-retroviral drug IDV was selected as the model drug for electrochemical sensing. The hydrothermal synthesis technique was used to produce the MoS2-based mixture with metal oxides, which was then used to change the SPE interfaces and build the appropriate electrolytic electrode.

Important Research Findings

The designed electrode was revealed to have a considerable electrocatalytic behavior with a large dynamic linear range. When used for IDV measurement in urine and blood plasma samples, the ultrasensitive electrochemical electrode composed of zinc oxide nanorods and molybdenum disulfide nanosheets achieved good results.

IDV was measured electrochemically using the proposed electrode, which has superior sensitivity, reproducibility, consistency, specificity, and recyclability. The developed biosensor was also used to test IDV levels in biological specimens, and the findings were satisfactory, with a recovery efficiency of more than 98.5 percent. These nanomaterials in electrode settings, according to the results, will be crucial in the future to increase the productivity, sensitivity, and durability of electrochemical electrodes.


Mehmandoust, M., Karimi, F. and Erk, N., (2022) A zinc oxide nanorods/molybdenum disulfide nanosheets hybrid as a sensitive and reusable electrochemical sensor for determination of anti-retroviral agent indinavir. Chemosphere, p.134430.

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Shaheer Rehan

Written by

Shaheer Rehan

Shaheer is a graduate of Aerospace Engineering from the Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad. He has carried out research on a wide range of subjects including Aerospace Instruments and Sensors, Computational Dynamics, Aerospace Structures and Materials, Optimization Techniques, Robotics, and Clean Energy. He has been working as a freelance consultant in Aerospace Engineering for the past year. Technical Writing has always been a strong suit of Shaheer's. He has excelled at whatever he has attempted, from winning accolades on the international stage in match competitions to winning local writing competitions. Shaheer loves cars. From following Formula 1 and reading up on automotive journalism to racing in go-karts himself, his life revolves around cars. He is passionate about his sports and makes sure to always spare time for them. Squash, football, cricket, tennis, and racing are the hobbies he loves to spend his time in.


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