Coronavirus News Asia

Nanotechnology could aid in Covid-19 fight

Can nanotechnology — the manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular and supramolecular scale — help in the fight against Covid-19?

Thomas Webster believes it can, for the simple reason the virus consists of a structure of a similar scale as his nanoparticles, Roberto Molar Candanosa of Northeastern University reported in

Since the outbreak began in late 2019, researchers have been racing to learn more about SARS-CoV-2, which is a strain from a family of viruses known as coronavirus for their crown-like shape.

Webster, a chemical engineer who specializes in developing nano-scale medicine and technology to treat diseases, is part of a contingency of scientists that are contributing ideas and technology to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fight the outbreak, the report said.

Webster is proposing particles of similar sizes that could attach to SARS-CoV-2 viruses, disrupting their structure with a combination of infrared light treatment.

That structural change would then halt the ability of the virus to survive and reproduce in the body, the report said.

“You have to think in this size range,” says Webster, Art Zafiropoulo Chair of chemical engineering at Northeastern. “In the nanoscale size range, if you want to detect viruses, if you want to deactivate them.”

Thomas Webster, Art Zafiropoulo Chair of chemical engineering at Northeastern University. Credit: Northeastern.

At that scale, matter is ultra-small, about ten thousand times smaller than the width of a single strand of hair.

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