A group of researchers from the URV and RMIT University in Australia has developed a surface that uses mechanical means to reduce the infectious potential of viruses, without the use of any chemicals.

The surface is made of silicon and has a series of microscopic spikes that damage the structure of viruses upon contact. According to research, this technology is 96% effective in mitigating the infectious potential of viruses. The use of this technology in environments that contain potentially dangerous biological material could make laboratories easier to control and safer for professionals who work there.

Creating surfaces that can kill viruses involves a specific process

The act of spiking viruses to eliminate them might seem simple, but it actually requires a significant amount of technical expertise. However, it has one major advantage, which is a high potential to destroy viruses without the need for chemicals.

To create the surfaces that can achieve this virucidal effect, the process begins with a smooth metal plate. Ions are then used to methodically remove material from the plate. The outcome is a surface that is covered in tiny needles that measure 2 nanometers in thickness. To give you an idea of their size, 30,000 of these needles could fit inside a single strand of hair. Additionally, each needle is 290 units tall.

Read More News: Immunotherapies may offer a promising and effective approach to fight against cancer

“In this case, we used silicon because it is less complicated technically speaking than other metals,” explains Vladimir Baulin, a researcher from the URV’s Physical and Inorganic Chemistry Department.

Specific virus studies have also found inspiration from the natural world

Baulin has been researching mechanical methods for controlling pathogenic microorganisms for the past decade, drawing inspiration from the natural world. He explains that insects like dragonflies or cicadas have wings with a nanometric structure that can puncture bacteria and fungi, making it a familiar procedure for him. However, viruses are much smaller in size than bacteria, so the needles used to control them must be correspondingly smaller as well. The research focuses on hPIV-3, which leads to respiratory infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis, or bronchiolitis. These parainfluenza viruses are responsible for one-third of all acute respiratory infections and are linked to lower respiratory tract infections in children.

“In addition to being an epidemiologically important virus, it is a model virus, safe to handle, as it does not cause potentially fatal diseases in adults,” says Baulin.

The methodology used for conducting research and its effectiveness

The research team conducted a theoretical and practical analysis to understand the process by which viruses lose their ability to infect when they come into contact with a nanostructured surface. Vladimir Baulin and Vassil Tzanov, researchers from URV, used the finite element method, which processes each fragment of the virus independently, to simulate the interactions between the viruses and the needles. At the same time, the researchers from RMIT University carried out an experimental analysis by exposing the virus to the nanostructured surface and observing the results.

Read More News: Gut and brain interactions influence

Applications that could be possible and ways to enhance safety

The study has shown that a particular method is highly effective in incapacitating 96% of viruses within a period of six hours when they come in contact with the surface. This method works because the needles have the ability to damage the external structure of viruses or pierce their membrane, thereby destroying or incapacitating them. The surfaces, therefore, have a virucidal effect.

This technology can be especially useful in high-risk environments such as laboratories or health centers where there is a potential risk of exposure to dangerous biological material. It can help to contain infectious diseases and make these environments safer for researchers, health workers, and patients alike.

This news is a creative derivative product from articles published in famous peer-reviewed journals and Govt reports:

1. “Piercing of the Human Parainfluenza Virus by Nanostructured Surfaces” by Samson W. L. Mah, Denver P. Linklater, Vassil Tzanov, Phuc H. Le, Chaitali Dekiwadia, Edwin Mayes, Ranya Simons, Daniel J. Eyckens, Graeme Moad, Soichiro Saita, Saulius Joudkazis, David A. Jans, Vladimir A. Baulin, Natalie A. Borg and Elena P. Ivanova, 21 December 2023, ACS Nano. DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.3c07099

2.Tian F, Li M, Wu S, Li L, Hu H. A hybrid and scalable nanofabrication approach for bio-inspired bactericidal silicon nanospike surfaces. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces. 2023 Feb 1;222:113092. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.colsurfb.2022.113092

3. Hossen, M. S., Hasan, M. N., Haque, M., Al Arian, T., Halder, S. K., Uddin, M. J., … & Shakil, M. S. (2023). Immunoinformatics-aided rational design of multiepitope-based peptide vaccine (MEBV) targeting human parainfluenza virus 3 (HPIV-3) stable proteins. Journal of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology21(1), 162. https://doi.org/10.1186/s43141-023-00623-5

By Editor

Leave a Reply