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Wednesday, 15 July 2020
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Raw materials & technologies, Technologies

UCF scientists seek novel nanoparticle coating to kill COVID-19

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Masks that protect doctors and nurses from COVID-19 only block the virus before it reaches their faces, but University of Central Florida researchers are working to create a protective coating that would include a novel mask material that would catch the virus and kill it within seconds.

UCF researchers want to create a protective coating that would catch the virus and kill it within seconds. Image source:  Tumisu - Pixabay (symbol image).
UCF researchers want to create a protective coating that would catch the virus and kill it within seconds. Image source:  Tumisu - Pixabay (sy...

Sudipta Seal, an engineer specialising in material science and nanotechnology, initiated this project working with Griffith Parks, a virologist who leads research efforts at UCF’s College of Medicine.

Seal will create nanostructures that can capture the virus and then trigger a chemical reaction using ultraviolet light to destroy it. The scientists said that if successful, the coating could be added to masks, gloves and gowns, which could keep healthcare providers safer as they battle COVID-19.

Nanostructures against viruses

The nanostructures will be created at UCF’s main campus and then shipped to Park’s lab at the College of Medicine to test against a "dictionary of viruses” he has stored in a freezer.

"I make the recipe and Dr. Parks checks against his dictionary of viruses,” Seal said. "The viruses are similar in their RNA and DNA structure to the coronavirus, but not as contagious or lethal. If it works on these closely related viruses, then we go the next step.”

After Seal creates the materials, Parks will put them through a battery of tests to see which materials kill specific viruses and how fast. While one material might kill all viruses, Parks expects that some materials will work better on particular types of viruses – a finding that would allow them to tailor the materials in the future for a specific outbreak by a specific virus type.

If Seal and Parks are successful, they hope to develop materials that can also kill disease-causing organisms such as bacteria.

More information can be found on the UCF-Website.

Image source: Pixabay.

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