COVID-19 puhang nõuab koheselt efektiivseid antiviraalseid lisandeid ja pinnakattevahendeid et selle levikut tõkestada. Alates 2004 aastast on uuritud nanomaterjale mis on ilmutanud antimikroobseid omadusi. COVID-19 pandeemiaga on esile kerkinud nanomaterjalide antiviraalsed omadused. Antiviraalses nanomaterjalide kasutuses lubavad metallidega impregneeritud nanokomposiidid kujundada saastus-kindlat tehnikat ja varustust. Projektis uuritakse koobaltit, vaske ja hõbeda nanoosakesi sisaldavaid polümeermaatrikseid, et välja töötada antiviraalseid lisandeid plastikute ja pinnakatete tootmiseks (uksekäepidemed, kaitsevisiirid, paneelid jms). Tehnoloogiasiire viiakse läbi Eesti ettevõtetes. Erinevate nanostruktuuride antiviraalseid omadusi uuritakse ja kasutatakse COVID-19 võitlemiseks ja selle leviku ennetamiseks.
The COVID-19 outbreak requires urgent effective antiviral treatment as well as mitigation of its proliferation. Since 2004, nanomaterials have been investigated towards the development of the so-called ‘nanoantimicrobials,’. Now with COVID-19 pandemic, nanoantivirals have been the focus of investigations. Nanomaterials in antiviral applications and nanotechnology can offer a great support in the design of contamination-safe equipment through metal-loaded nanocomposites. Polymer nanocomposites combining cobalt, copper and silver in polymer matrix will be studied to develop antiviral additives for plastic items production and coatings to protect surfaces (door handles, protective visors, panels…). The technological transfer for industrial production will be done with Estonian Companies. The well-known antiviral properties of various formulations and nanostructures will be studied and exploited to fight COVID-19 and prevent and limit both rapid contamination leading to contagion.
Now with COVID-19 pandemic, nanoantivirals have been the focus of investigations. The Estonian research group from EMÜ in collaboration with Estiko Plastar AS demonstrated that it is possible to combine common polymers that are used in food industry, or used for molding/printing items with nanomaterials to prepare antimicrobial surface that can kill disease-causing organisms (including virus) and prevent the spread of diseases through contact contamination. They investigated a new cobalt based nanomaterials that exhibit superparamagnetic properties and antimicrobial properties. The results showed that cobalt based polymer nanocomposites can prevent the survival of bacterial like Escherichia coli, and virus like Covid-19 on the protected surface. Nanomaterials in antimicrobial and antiviral applications can offer a great support in the design of contamination-safe equipment through metal-loaded nanocomposites. The coating can be applied on different surfaces like door knob, computer mouse, keyboard, face-shield, pencil to prevent rapid contamination leading to contagion. This innovation will be relevant to everyone, ranging from hospital and laboratory to public through the protection of surface that are touched by everyone every day (lift button, coffee machine, pencils, door knobs…). More investigations are now necessary to identify the suitable polymer and the amount of nanomaterials necessary to exhibit sufficient antimicrobial properties. The technology can be extended to other pathogens and will be an asset to protect the population during future pandemics. The coating is easy to prepare and can be applied to most of the known surface, but the main asset is the possibility to reclaim the antimicrobial nanomaterials through the dissolution of the polymer and the magnetic properties of the nanomaterials. The recycling of the nanomaterials prevents its release in the environment and makes its application safer through the development of a circular economy.