Nanotechnology solutions are being researched against the virus

The COVID-19 outbreak requires urgent effective antiviral treatment as well as mitigation of its proliferation. Now, nano-antivirals have been the focus of investigations because they can offer a great support in the design of contamination-safe equipment through metal-loaded nanocomposites. EMÜ‘s research group lead by Prof. Erwan Rauwel from the Institute of Technology received a targeted research grant of 100.000€ in the frame of the call “solving the problems caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus” opened by the Estonian Research Agency. The research group aims to develop new nanocomposites combining metallic nanomaterials in a polymer matrix to prevent and limit rapid contamination of Covid-19. The goal is to develop antiviral additives for plastic item production and coatings to protect surfaces that are common in everyday life such as door handles/knobs, protective visors, plastic panels… The polymer nanocomposite will prevent the virus’s survival on the surface and therefore limit the rapid contamination. The research project will be done in cooperation between two institutes of Eesti Maaülikool. The Institute of Technology and the Veterinary Institute will join their expertise in nanotechnology, materials science and virology to develop new composites combining antimicrobial/antiviral nanomaterials and polymer. In the frame of this project, EMÜ will also collaborate with the bioengineering and nanoscience laboratory (LBN) in Montpellier(France). The nanomaterials that will be used in the research project have been already studied for possible application in nanomedicine and cancer treatment in collaboration with France («Assessing Cobalt Metal Nanoparticles uptake by Cancer Cells using Live Raman Spectroscopy» International journal of Nanomedicine 15, 7051-7062 (2020)), which make them potential candidates for the development of antiviral coating. One of the advantages of these nanomaterials is that they can be produced at a large scale and may be of interest to Estonian companies that will be contacted during the development of the anti-viral coating. The outcome is not only restricted to surface protection against viruses, but can also be extended to antimicrobial protection that can be used to prevent and limit both rapid propagation of other biological threats.


Information about the research team:
Team of the Institute of Technology:
Prof. Erwan Rauwel
Prof. Protima Rauwel
Dr. Kaarel Soots
Ms. Harleen Kaur (PhD)
Mr. Indrek Virro

Team of the Veterinary Institute
Prof. Arvo Viltrop
Dr. Kristi Praakle
Ms. Heidi Enneli Granholm (Master)


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