How nanotechnology is contributing to the fight against Covid-19

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The Covid-19 pandemic has gripped several countries across the world, resulting in several millions of infected individuals and hundreds and thousands of deaths. This global emergency has triggered responses from all across, including the domain of science and technology. Especially, the use of nanotechnology has offered fresh opportunities and novel strategies in terms of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Covid-19. Experts believe that the virus behind Covid-19 consists of a structure of a similar scale as nanoparticles, i.e. ultrasmall, about ten thousand times smaller than the width of a hair strand. Here we take a look at few such nanotechnology-based innovations that are already contributing to the fight against the pandemic.

Graphene-silver Membrane: Jaipur-based startup Nanomatrix Materials has invented a membrane powered with wonder material graphene’s unique synthesis with silver. The membrane has strong anti-viral and anti-bacterial activity. The atomically sharp edges of graphene act as nano-knives that damage the outer wall of microbes while silver nanoparticles produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) in oxidative conditions, which causes irreversible damage to the genetic material of viruses and bacteria. The membrane is breathable, washable and anti-odour. The universal property of the membrane makes it suitable for all clothing and air filtration.

Cowin Guard Film: Karnataka-based nanotechnology company Ad-Nano Technologies has developed a PE nano-composite film named Cowin Guard. The film has been used to develop an enhanced adhesive Cowin floor guard, wall curtains, bed sheets and PPE Kit. All the products boast of anti-Covid properties. According to the company, when Covid virus comes in contact with the PE sheets, they are neutralized within a short span of time. The products have been developed to meet the requirements of health workers as the anti-Covid property remains active for long duration.

Nanofibers Membrane: Researchers at Queensland University of Technology have developed a breathable cellulose nano-fiber based membrane that has the power to remove virus-size nanoparticles. The idea behind the development of the material is to make it usable as a disposable filter cartridge in biodegradable anti-pollution masks. They are made of dense spiderweb-like network of nanofibres. This will especially be useful for frontline warriors who need to wear masks for long hours.

Copper nanoparticles: UK-based nanotechnology company Promethean Particles Ltd has developed copper nanoparticles, which is suitable for use in fabrics and PPE kits worn by healthcare professionals such as doctors. The researchers and engineers embedded nano-copper into polymer fibres like nylon through a melt extrusion process. This led to the anti-microbial effect of the fabric last over a longer period than usual. According to reports, the fiber is pending certification from laboratories in the UK and America as per ISO standard.

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