This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. (Credit: NIAID-RML)

Researchers have demonstrated that a family of self-sterilizing polymers are effective at inactivating coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19. The work opens the door to a suite of applications that could help to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and other diseases.

When these anionic polymers absorb water, protons can travel through nanoscale channels to the surface, creating a highly acidic environment capable of inactivating viruses and killing bacteria and mold. The research team has been able to identify a fundamentally new inactivation mechanism and a family of polymers that expands the healthcare sector’s arsenal for fighting the spread of coronavirus.

In laboratory experiments, they demonstrated that specific anionic polymers could fully inactivate SARS-CoV-2 in just 5 minutes and fully inactivate a human coronavirus surrogate called HCoV-229E in 20 minutes.

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Medical Design Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the March, 2021 issue of Medical Design Briefs Magazine.

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