Silicon, Gold, and Copper – Scientists Discover New Weapons Against COVID-19

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According to Dr. Nadim Darwish, the lead researcher from the School of Molecular and Life Sciences at Curtin University, the research discovered that the spike proteins of coronaviruses connect to and grow to be caught on particular forms of surfaces.

“Coronaviruses have spike proteins on their periphery that allow them to penetrate host cells and cause infection and we have found these proteins becomes stuck to the surface of silicon, gold, and copper through a reaction that forms a strong chemical bond,” Dr. Darwish stated.

“We believe these materials can be used to capture coronaviruses by being used in air filters, as a coating for benches, tables, and walls, or in the fabric of wipe cloths and face masks.

“By capturing coronaviruses in these ways we would be preventing them from reaching and infecting more people.”

Co-author Ph.D. candidate Essam Dief, additionally from the School of Molecular and Life Sciences at Curtin University stated the research additionally discovered the coronavirus may very well be detected and destroyed utilizing electrical pulses.

“We found that electrical present can cross via the spike protein and due to this, the protein may be electrically detected. In the longer term, this discovering may be translated to contain making use of answer to a mouth or nostril swab and testing it in a tiny digital system capable of electrically detect the proteins of the virus. This would provide instant, more sensitive, and accurate COVID testing,” Mr. Dief said.

“Even more exciting, by applying electrical pulses, we found the spike protein’s structure is changed and at certain magnitude of the pulses, the protein is destroyed. Therefore, electric fields can potentially deactivate coronaviruses.

“So, by incorporating materials such as copper or silicon in air filters, we can potentially capture and consequently stop the spread of the virus. Also importantly, by incorporating electric fields through air filters, for example, we also expect this to deactivate the virus.

“The study is exciting both fundamentally as it enables a better understanding of coronaviruses and from an applied perspective in helping to develop tools to fight the transmission of current and future coronaviruses.”

Reference: “SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins react with Au and Si, are electrically conductive and denature at 3 × 108 V m−1: a surface bonding and a single-protein circuit study” by Essam M. Diefa and Nadim Darwish, 17 February 2023, Chemical Science.
DOI: 10.1039/D2SC06492H