Material that eliminates the COVID-19 virus could be used in face masks.

Scientists achieved a material that eliminates the virus and could be used in face masks.

MADRID Spain (EFE) – A team of researchers from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) has succeeded in obtaining a nanomaterial capable of eliminating the coronavirus and using face masks, fabrics, doorknobs, or handrails.

The new nanomaterial consists of copper nanoparticles, which inhibit the proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes covid-19, and blocks its propagation.

A patent has already protected the material. It would be applicable in the coating of surgical masks, in protective fabrics for hospital use, and the coating of contact surfaces, such as handrails or knobs in public transport, as reported today by the CSIC, which has specified that researchers are studying its industrial development to bring it to market.

“The new technology consists of nanoparticles that interact with coronavirus proteins, modifying them through an oxidation mechanism and blocking their ability to infect human cells,” explained researcher José Miguel Palomo, who has led the development at the head of the Biological Chemistry and Biocatalysis group of the Institute of Catalysis and Petrochemistry of the CSIC (ICP-CSIC).

This new material is very efficient at inhibiting the functional proteins of SARS-CoV-2, especially the “3CLpro protease” (which is involved in the virus replication process) and the spike protein (which allows the virus to enter human cells), as demonstrated by Palomo’s team, in collaboration with researchers Olga Abian and Adrián Velázquez, from the Aragón Health Research Institute (IIS Aragón), the Aragon Institute of Health Sciences (IACS) and the University of Zaragoza (northeastern Spain).

This nanomaterial’s high virucidal efficacy is because the active component is copper nanoparticles of petite size, which increases efficiency. It is made up of copper species with a single oxidation state. According to the researchers, this makes it possible to obtain a high biological activity that had not been observed so far with other compounds.

The researchers have confirmed that these nanomaterials can be used as coating additives on various surfaces.

The material has already been tested for coating approved surgical masks made of polypropylene or cotton fabric (gowns).

“This is of great interest since it would provide a new type of effective masks with direct inactivation against SARS-CoV-2, as well as preventing transmission by a mechanical barrier (filtration), and would provide textile protection agents for hospital use,” the researchers said.

The new material has also been successfully applied to metallic materials (steel and iron). It could be used as a coating material for contact surfaces, handrails, and knobs for use in the public transport sector.