Polymer-encapsulated copper-based nanoparticles: synthesis and evaluation of surface coatings for reduction of COVID‑19 transmission

Goh, M Cynthia | $74,971

Ontario University of Toronto 2020 NSERC Alliance COVID-19 Grant

Corona viruses can be transmitted by contamination of dry surfaces where they can persist for hours to days depending on the surface material. Cleaning high touch surfaces, such as doorknobs and elevator buttons, are key elements in the fight against infection. Our goal is to help reduce transmission of the disease by providing a coating that will continuously disinfect the surface in-between regular cleaning.

Copper is a long known antimicrobial, and it has been reported that SARS-CoV 2 persists for less time on copper than on other surfaces. However, not everything can be made of copper. Our approach is to focus on copper-based nanoparticles suspended in water, to be used as a spray coating, effectively providing a source of copper for disinfection.

In this project, we will investigate various copper-based polymer-encapsulated nanoparticles that will be made using our approach based on counter-ion polymer collapse. We will synthesize nanoparticles made of copper, copper alloys and copper compounds. These materials will be tested for their action on E. coli, which will serve as a model system for SARS-CoV 2. A coating formulation incorporating the various nanoparticles will then be created. Plastic and glass surfaces will be coated, and tested for their ability to inactivate E. coli. Our partner Vive Crop Protection has expertise in nanomaterials synthesis and formulation, and has experience with copper in its application to agriculture. They will provide assistance with the technology as well as an industrial perspective and knowledge of the regulatory issues to enable this potential product to enter the market.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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