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Scientists worldwide are trying hard to combat the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) with various technologies and approaches. Nanotechnologists are at the forefront of this vital mission, with one pioneering University of Houston scientist having already found an application for his research.
How Is Nanotechnology Being Used to Combat Coronavirus?
Professor Seamus Curran – a University of Houston-based physicist whose research on nanotechnology coatings is already widely applied in commercial settings – has developed a nanotechnology to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Curran’s innovation builds upon his existing research in nanotechnology coatings. Curran’s extensive focus on applications for cutting-edge nanotechnology research is the reason his filter coatings could be so quickly brought to the fight against the spread of coronavirus. Curran said:
“History is littered with examples of technology that was examined for one application but found a way into another field altogether. Folks take new tech and find so many interesting ways to use them because of their natural curiosity.”
The virus-combatting application of Curran’s previous research is to coat air filters used in existing air filtration systems with hydrophobic nanoparticles. These prevent the water-based particles which carry coronavirus from passing through the filter.
Because the nanotechnology solution can be applied to ordinary air filtration systems, no expensive or time-consuming retrofitting is required, and buildings can immediately implement the proposed solution.
Already Tested and in Place
Independent testing performed at Water Lens laboratory has confirmed that air filters coated with this nanotechnology can stop the water-based micro-drops carrying the virus from passing through them, at a rate much higher than a non-treated filter of the same Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV).
The coating has already been applied in at least one public building in New York City, New York – a hotspot for coronavirus infection in the United States. The testing and application in New York City have shown that the nanotechnology solution effectively captures the droplets carrying the COVID-19-causing virus, without impacting building airflow.
“We are happy to play our part.”
Curran is not known for passive speculation or academic posturing. He is well-known for his ability and interest in bringing his research to bear upon commercial and public interests.
When news about coronavirus's danger first reached Curran in early 2020, he began working on a nanotechnology coating solution for fabric masks. This, and the application in air filters, builds on a nanotechnology approach to a surface coating that Curran developed in 2011.
However, as he became aware of the nature of the virus’s spread – which is wide because of its ability to float in the air on aerosolized water droplets released by infected people – he turned his attention to an air filter application systems.
Curran is a firm believer in the necessity of science in combating the spread of coronavirus. “We need science to help us get back to some form of normality,” he said, “And we are happy to play our part.”
Curran sees his research as part of a broader joint scientific endeavor to combat the spread of coronavirus. He argues that this nanotechnology solution is buying time for immunologists, vaccine researchers and others seeking ways to eradicate the virus.
“I am a nanotechnologist working on surface coatings,” Curran says. “There are many like me who are trying to do the same, I am absolutely sure of it, and we will all do our bit to get time for our colleagues, so they can make the real big discoveries.”
Commercialization Key to Spreading Nanotechnology Solution
As mentioned, Curran is well-known for his ability to commercialize cutting-edge developments in his field of nanotechnology. He has two private ventures, Curran Biotech and Integricote. Both are very highly regarded by the scientific and investor communities alike.
Livingston Securities provides investment advice on emergent nanotechnologies. Its CEO, Scott Livingston, said:
“Building technologies, including filtration, HVAC systems and indoor air quality, are of paramount importance to reopening America safely. The war on COVID is being fought on a number of fronts, and poorly ventilated buildings and transportation systems are of major concern. We support Dr. Curran and look forward to working with Curran Biotech as they scale up this important COVID mitigation solution.”
Livingston Securities CEO, Scott Livingston
Echoing Livingston’s support, the executive director of the NanoBusiness Commercialization Association, Vincent Caprio, remarked:
“Dr. Curran’s nanomaterials breakthrough technology offers a solution to air filtration. It is quite an achievement to see a company such as Curran Biotech go from the lab to commercialization.”
Find out more about coating and deposition equipment on the market today
How Else Can Nanotechnology Help in the Fight Against Coronavirus?
Having developed, tested and installed the first applications of his nanotechnology filter coating, Curran is moving on to new means of combating the virus.
He is now developing a nanotechnology coating that will kill the virus upon contact when applied to any surface. Curran’s next nanotechnology coating solution will be highly anticipated by all, and will undoubtedly make a significant contribution to the scientific community’s fight against the spread of coronavirus.
References and Further Reading
Kever, Jeannie (2020) Nanotech Filter Coating Offers Promise Against COVID-19. [Online] University of Houston. Available at: https://www.uh.edu/news-events/stories/2020/september-2020/09292020-curran-covid-filter.php.
Schkloven, Emma (2020). “UH Physicist’s Nanotechnology Could Stop Coronavirus in Its Tracks.” [Online] Houstonia Magazine. Available at: https://www.houstoniamag.com/news-and-city-life/2020/04/uh-physicist--nanotechnology-could-stop-coronavirus.