UCF researchers have developed a nanoparticle-based disinfectant that can continuously kill viruses on the surface for up to 7 days-a discovery that may become a powerful weapon against COVID-19 and other emerging pathogenic viruses.
The research was published this week in the journal ACS Nano of the American Chemical Society by a multidisciplinary team of virus and engineering experts from the university and the head of a technology company in Orlando.
Christina Drake, an alumnus of the University of Central Florida in 2007 and the founder of Kismet Technologies, was inspired to develop disinfectants after a trip to the grocery store at the beginning of the pandemic. There, she saw a worker spraying disinfectant on the refrigerator handle and then immediately wiped off the spray.
“Initially my idea was to develop a quick-acting disinfectant,” she said, “but we talked to consumers—such as doctors and dentists—to find out which disinfectant they really wanted. For them The most important thing is what is durable. It will continue to disinfect high contact areas such as door handles and floors for a long time after application.”
Drake collaborated with Dr. Sudipta Seal, a UCF materials engineer and nanoscience expert, and Dr. Griff Parks, a virologist, research associate dean of the School of Medicine, and Dean of the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences. With funding from the National Science Foundation, Kismet Tech, and the Florida High-Tech Corridor, researchers created a nanoparticle engineered disinfectant.
Its active ingredient is an engineered nanostructure called cerium oxide, known for its regenerative antioxidant properties. Cerium oxide nanoparticles are modified with a small amount of silver to make them more effective against pathogens.
“It works in both chemistry and mechanics,” explains Seal, who has been studying nanotechnology for more than 20 years. “Nanoparticles emit electrons to oxidize the virus and make it inactive. Mechanically, they also attach themselves to the virus and rupture the surface like a blasting balloon.”
Most disinfectant wipes or sprays will disinfect the surface within three to six minutes after use, but there is no residual effect. This means that the surface needs to be wiped repeatedly to keep it clean to avoid infection with multiple viruses such as COVID-19. The nanoparticle formulation maintains its ability to inactivate microorganisms and continues to disinfect the surface for up to 7 days after a single application.
“Disinfectants show great antiviral activity against seven different viruses,” Parks explained, and his laboratory is responsible for testing the formula’s resistance to the virus “dictionary”. “It not only showed antiviral properties against coronaviruses and rhinoviruses, but also proved to be effective against various other viruses with different structures and complexities. We hope that with this amazing ability to kill, this disinfectant will also It will become a highly effective tool against other emerging viruses.”
Scientists believe that this solution will have a significant impact on the healthcare environment, especially reducing the incidence of hospital-acquired infections-such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Clostridium difficile -These infections affect more than one-third of patients admitted to American hospitals.
Unlike many commercial disinfectants, this formula does not contain harmful chemicals, which shows that it is safe to use on any surface. According to the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, regulatory tests on skin and eye cell irritation have shown no harmful effects.
“Many of the household disinfectants currently available contain chemicals that are harmful to the body after repeated exposure,” Drake said. “Our nanoparticle-based products will have a high level of safety, which will play an important role in reducing overall human exposure to chemicals.”
More research is needed before products enter the market, which is why the next phase of research will focus on the performance of disinfectants in practical applications outside the laboratory. This work will study how disinfectants are affected by external factors such as temperature or sunlight. The team is in talks with the local hospital network to test the product in their facilities.
Drake added: “We are also exploring the development of a semi-permanent film to see if we can cover and seal hospital floors or door handles, areas that need to be disinfected, or even areas that are actively and continuously in contact.”
Seal joined UCF’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering in 1997, which is part of the UCF School of Engineering and Computer Science. He serves in the medical school and is a member of the UCF prosthetic group Biionix. He is the former director of the UCF Nano Science and Technology Center and Advanced Materials Processing and Analysis Center. He received a PhD in materials engineering from the University of Wisconsin, with a minor in biochemistry, and is a postdoctoral researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley.
After working at Wake Forest School of Medicine for 20 years, Parks came to UCF in 2014, where he served as a professor and head of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. He received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin and is a researcher of the American Cancer Society at Northwestern University.
The research was co-authored by Candace Fox, a postdoctoral researcher from UCF School of Medicine, Craig Neal from UCF School of Engineering and Computer Science, and graduate students Tamil Sakthivel, Udit Kumar, and Yifei Fu from UCF School of Engineering and Computer Science.
Like anything you read on the Internet, this article should not be considered medical advice; please consult your doctor or primary care provider before making any changes to your health routine.
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Post time: Sep-07-2021