COVID-19 Prevention: Australian Scientists Developing New Nanostructured Materials Whose Surfaces Can Reduce Spread of Infection In Hospitals And Public Areas
: The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic has caused an increased demand for antimicrobial treatments that can keep surfaces clean, particularly in health care settings.
Though some surfaces have been developed such that can combat bacteria, what has been lacking is a surface that can also kill off viruses.
However Australian researchers From the Queensland University of Technology have now found a way to impart durable antiviral and antibacterial properties to an aluminum alloy used in hospitals, according to a report in ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsbiomaterials.0c00348
Viruses and bacteria can spread when a person touches a site where germs have settled, such as a doorframe, handrail or medical device. A healthy person can often fight off these bugs, but hospital patients can be more vulnerable to infection.
Although the number of hospital-acquired infections has been on the decline in the United States and elsewhere in the world, they still cause tens of thousands of deaths every year, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
It has been found that chemical disinfectants or coatings containing hydrophobic compounds, silver ions or copper can reduce infectious contaminants on surfaces, but these treatments don’t last.
Fortunately nature has developed its own solutions for battling microorganisms, including microscopic structural features that render some insect wings lethal to bacteria.
Research scientists have replicated this effect by forming surfaces covered with minute pillars and other shapes that distort and kill bacterial cells. But Dr Prasad Yarlagadda and colleagues wanted to inactivate viruses as well as bacteria, so they set out to generate a novel nanoscale topography on long-lasting, industrially relevant materials.
The research team experimented with disks of aluminum 6063, which is used in doorframes, window panels, and hospital and medical equipment.
Aluminium 6063 is an aluminium alloy with magnesium and silicon and is easily malleable.
By etching the disks with sodium hydroxide for up to 3 hours, the initially smooth, hydrophobic surface changed into a ridged, hydrophilic surface.
Bacteria or viruses were then applied to the etched disks. Most of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria were inactivated after 3 hours on the surface, while viability of common respiratory viruses dropped within 2 hours; both results were better than with plastic or smooth aluminum surfaces.
The etched disks retained their effectiveness even after tests designed to mimic hospital wear and tear.
The study team says that this is the first report to show combined antibacterial and antiviral properties of a durable, nanostructured surface that has the potential to stop the spread of infections arising from physical surfaces in hospitals.
This new strategy could be extended to surfaces in other public areas, such as cruise ships, planes and airports, they say.
rchers are now studying the effects of their nano-textured aluminum surfaces on the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus with additional reports to follow.
For more on COVID-19 prevention
, keep logging to Thailand Medical News.