Technology against COVID-19: Nano Insights into Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment



A. Introduction


Considering the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, apart from staying at home, people need other items to halt the spread of this respiratory disease. Various nanotechnology products are available to equip people for combating COVID-19. Even though nanoparticles or nanofibers–improved respiratory masks and gloves are required to be employed outside to limit the number of people exposed to potential risks, soaps, sanitizers, disinfectants, shampoos, and detergents, composed of antiviral and antibacterial nanomaterials, can be used inside to fight against this pandemic. Graphene, nanodiamond, polymer nanofibers (e.g., polyacrylonitrile), and such nanoparticles as silver, titanium dioxide, and copper oxide are commonly incorporated into these categories of products so as to contribute to their proficiency.

The overwhelming demand for nano–enabled or –enhanced gowns, aprons, scrubs, and protective gear has set off a race among health centers. Other much-needed goods such as air filtration systems containing high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters play a pivotal role in capturing bacteria, mold spores, and viruses to prevent airborne contamination in hospitals. Such systems, activated by UV light on the basis of nanostructured absorbers, are certified to filter the majority of airborne infections down to 3 nm. The first-ever molecular photocatalyst air purifier works based on a chemical reaction between the nanoparticles and the pollutants under the presence of UV light. Moreover, state-of-the-art systems based on electric filtering remove ultra-fine particles down to 0.3 nm, using an electric shock. These ventilation system does not contain filters that can get clogged, therefore the purification efficiency stays high at all times.

As many nations across the world are dealing with increasing numbers of coronavirus cases, the testing of suspected carriers is being intensified also. A broad spectrum of detection kits is in the production line, among which the innovative rapid nanogold-based test can ease the strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare systems. Pocket-sized, portable DNA/RNA sequencers comprised of up to 512 nanopore channels are also commercially available.

Some biotechnology companies are scrambling to leverage nanotechnology, aided by nanocarriers and nanoliposomes, in developing a vaccine candidate for the novel coronavirus relying on various approaches, all of which are being tested in clinical trials. Using the recombinant protein nanoparticle technology platform to generate antigens derived from the coronavirus spike (S) protein is another emerging technology in hand to enhance immune responses against COVID-19, which is close-to-market.

Here are the latest updates on nano-related technology against COVID-19:



B. Prevention

1. Vaccine Candidates


1.1. RNA Based Vaccine

mRNA-1273 (mRNA vaccine) | In the clinical evaluation/regulatory stage

  • Type of candidate vaccine: LNP-encapsulated mRNA
  • Developer: Moderna Inc
  • Current stage of clinical evaluation/regulatory status: Phase III

mRNA-1273 is an mRNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 encoding for a prefusion stabilized form of the Spike (S) protein, which was selected by Moderna in collaboration with investigators from the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a part of NIH. mRNA technology commonly employs nanoparticles-based drug ‎release approaches. ‎In this technology, the stretch of RNA which is required for preparing the vaccine is ‎first synthesized and then embedded in lipid nanoparticles (LNP). mRNA-1273 consists of an mRNA Drug Substance that is manufactured into LNPs composed of the proprietary ionizable lipid, SM-102, and 3 commercially available lipids, cholesterol, DSPC, and PEG2000 DMG.

Read more:
Moderna first human trial vaccine
Positive early results in the first human trial
Collaboration to develop mRNA technology
Moderna's coronavirus vaccine
Safety and immunogenicity study

Self-replicating RNA-based therapeutic vaccine | In the preclinical evaluation/regulatory stage

  • Type of candidate vaccine: Self-replicating RNA nanoparticles delivery systems
  • Nanotechnology part: Using a leading nanoparticle non-viral delivery system (LUNAR) to produce proteins inside the human body
  • Developer: Arcturus
  • Current stage of clinical evaluation/regulatory status: Phase I

The STARR™ Technology platform combines self-replicating RNA with LUNAR®, a leading nanoparticle non-viral delivery system, to produce proteins inside the human body.  Due to superior immune response and sustained protein expression, Arcturus’ STARR™ Technology is expected to produce a vaccine response at much lower doses compared to traditional mRNA vaccines. This could lead to the ability to treat many more people with a single GMP-manufactured production batch, thereby greatly increasing efficiency and reducing the time required to produce sufficient quantities of vaccine for large populations. The development of a COVID-19 vaccine will be based on the Company’s STARR™ Technology and will take advantage of a unique platform developed at Duke-NUS allowing rapid screening of vaccines for effectiveness and safety.

Read more:
Arcturus develop a (COVID-19) vaccine using STARR™ technology
Arcturus proprietary technology platforms


1.2.  Viral Vector Based Vaccine

Ad5-nCoV | In the clinical evaluation/regulatory stage

  • Type of candidate vaccine: Adenovirus Type 5 Vector
  • Nanotechnology part: Designing a nanoscale viral vector to deliver vaccine agent
  • Developer: CanSino Biological Inc , Beijing Institute of Biotechnology
  • Current stage of clinical evaluation/regulatory status: Phase III

Ad5-nCoV is a genetically engineered vaccine candidate with the replication-defective adenovirus type 5 as the vector to express SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which intends to be used to prevent the disease caused by the novel coronavirus infection. Ad5-nCoV is developed with Cansino’s adenovirus-based viral vector vaccine technology platform, which utilizes adenoviruses as viral vectors to deliver vaccine antigens to the human cell. Previously, the technology platform was key in enabling Cansino to translate its Ebola virus disease vaccine.

Read more:
Chinese coronavirus vaccine
Chinese clinical trial register


COVID-19 Janssen Vaccine | In the preclinical evaluation/regulatory stage

  • Type of candidate vaccine: Virosome-based vaccine
  • Nanotechnology part: Designing a nanoscale viral vector to deliver vaccine agent
  • Developer: Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
  • Current stage of clinical evaluation/regulatory status: Phase III

Janssen's vaccine program will use the Janssen AdVac® and PER.C6® technologies that provide the ability to rapidly upscale production of an optimal vaccine candidate. The company is leveraging its proven vaccine technology that it is also using to develop its investigational Ebola (which also utilizes its MVA-BN® technology), Zika, RSV, and HIV vaccines. AdVac is a technology based on the development and production of adenovirus vectors (gene carriers). It can be used together with PER.C6® technology to develop recombinant vaccines against life-threatening infectious diseases.

Read more:
Commitment more than $1 billion to R&D
Collaboration to develop a vaccine
Vaccine capabilities & technologies


TNX-1800, TNX-1810, TNX-1820 and TNX-1830 Vaccines | In the preclinical evaluation/regulatory stage

  • Type of candidate vaccine: Virosomes-based vaccine (Horsepox Virus Vaccine Platform)
  • Nanotechnology part: Designing a nanoscale viral vector to deliver vaccine agent
  • Developer: Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp.

TNX-1800 is based on Tonix’s proprietary horsepox vaccine platform that designed to express SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein. It is believed that horsepox has the potential to serve as a vector for vaccines to protect against other infectious agents. The new research collaboration will develop and test a potential horsepox vaccine that expresses protein from the virus that causes COVID-19 to protect against the disease. The partnership will develop the three vaccine candidates, named TNX-1810, TNX-1820 and TNX-1830, which are based on the horsepox vector platform and designed to express various SARS-CoV-2 antigens. Orthopoxviruses like horsepox induce strong innate and adaptive immunity and long-lasting T-cell immunity. They have designed TNX-1810, TNX-1820 and TNX-1830 to express and induce immunity to SARS-CoV-2 proteins that are different from Spike.

Read more:
Tonix licenses three COVID-19 vaccine candidates
Horsepox virus vaccine platform


1.3.  Protein Subunit Based Vaccine

NVX-CoV2373 | In the preclinical evaluation/regulatory stage

  • Type of candidate vaccine: Recombinant protein nanoparticle vaccine
  • Nanotechnology part: Designing the recombinant F-proteins to self-assemble into nanoparticle constructs that approximate the size of the RSV virus
  • Developer: Novavax, Inc.
  • Current stage of clinical evaluation/regulatory status: Phase III

Novavax created the COVID-19 vaccine candidates using its proprietary recombinant protein nanoparticle technology platform to generate antigens derived from the coronavirus spike (S) protein. Novavax expects to utilize its proprietary Matrix-M™ adjuvant with its COVID-19 vaccine candidate to enhance immune responses. In Matrix-M, purified saponin fractions are mixed with synthetic cholesterol and phospholipid to form stable particles that can be readily formulated with a variety of vaccine antigens. Saponin-based adjuvants act in part by stimulating the entry of antigen-presenting cells into the injection site and enhancing antigen presentation in the local lymph nodes.

Read more:
Nanoparticle vaccine technology
$4 million awards to Novavax from CEPI
Initiation of the first-in-human trial to mid-may
Recombinant protein nanoparticles

1c-SApNP vaccine platform technology | In the preclinical evaluation/regulatory stage

  • Type of candidate vaccine: Recombinant protein nanoparticles
  • Nanotechnology part: Self-assembling a protein nanoparticle scaffold
  • Developer: Ufovax LLC

The company has successfully extended its patented one-component self-assembling protein nanoparticle (1c-SApNP) vaccine platform technology to a vaccine against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The vaccine prototype features SARS-CoV-2 protein spikes protruding from a protein nanoparticle scaffold. As a virus-like particle (VLP), the nanoparticle vaccine would induce the immune system to rapidly generate antibodies to neutralize (deactivate) the coronavirus, offering recipient protection against the real SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Read more:
Ufovax formulates COVID-19 vaccine
The 1c-SApNP platform technology


Molecular clamp platform | In the preclinical evaluation/regulatory stage

  • Type of candidate vaccine: Molecular clamp stabilized Spike protein
  • Nanotechnology part: Self-assembling a polypeptide to form an artificial enveloped virus fusion protein complex
  • Developer: University of Queensland
  • Current stage of clinical evaluation/regulatory status: Phase I

The technology has been designed as a platform approach to generate vaccines against a range of human and animal viruses and has shown promising results in the laboratory targeting viruses such as influenza, Ebola, and coronavirus. The vaccine has been developed locks the spike protein into a shape that allows the immune system to be able to recognize and then neutralize the virus.

Read more:
Queensland university COVID-19 vaccine test
A significant step in COVID-19 vaccine quest
Patent: Chimeric molecules and uses thereof
What is a molecular clamp?

1.4. DNA Based Vaccine


Fusogenix DNA vaccine | In the preclinical evaluation/regulatory stage

  • Type of candidate vaccine: Proteo-lipid vehicle (PLV)
  • Nanotechnology part: Using a neutral lipid formulation (Liposome-based) with the high efficacy of the fusogenic protein-mediated delivery technology
  • Developer: Entos Pharmaceuticals (Entos)

Entos Fusogenix Platform is a proteo-lipid vehicle (PLV) that uses a novel fusion mechanism to deliver its genetic payload directly inside cells. Unlike traditional vaccines, a DNA-based vaccine involves the direct introduction of a plasmid encoding the antigen(s) against which an immune response is sought and relies on the production of the target antigen in the patient’s own cells. The patient’s cells then produce the viral proteins that the body recognizes as foreign, and a potent immune response is mounted. This response will create long-term immunity against infection from viruses such as SARS-COV-2.This approach offers a number of potential advantages over traditional approaches, including the stimulation of both B- and T-cell responses, ease of large-scale manufacture, improved vaccine stability, and the absence of any infectious agent.

Read more:
Developing a DNA vaccine against COVID-19 using nanomedicine platform

GV-MVA-VLPTM | In the preclinical evaluation/regulatory stage

  • Type of candidate vaccine: Recombinant DNA
  • Nanotechnology part: Self-assembling of the virus-like particle within the cells
  • Developer: GeoVax, Inc.

GeoVax uses GV-MVA-VLPTM vaccine platform and expertise to design and construct vaccine candidates using genetic sequences from the ongoing COVID-2019 outbreak. On this platform, MVA, a large virus capable of carrying several vaccine antigens, expresses proteins that assemble into VLP immunogens within (in vivo) the person receiving the vaccine. The production of VLPs in the person being vaccinated mimics virus production in a natural infection, stimulating both the humoral and cellular arms of the immune system to recognize, prevent, and control the target infection. The GV-MVA-VLPTM derived vaccines can elicit durable immune responses in the host similar to a live-attenuated virus, while typically providing the safety characteristics of a replication-defective vector.

Read more:
GeoVax technology overview
GeoVax coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine program

DNA-based Nasal vaccine | In the preclinical evaluation/regulatory stage

The vaccine will work by using engineered bacteriophage, a process that will allow the vaccine to stimulate an immune response in the nasal cavity and target tissues in the lower respiratory tract. The DNA-based vaccine will be administered non-invasively as a nasal spray that delivers nanomedicine engineered to immunize and decrease COVID-19 infections. The VLP will look similar to the structure of SARS-CoV-2 but is harmless. This similarity will activate the body’s natural immune response to protect against viral infections comparable to the VLP, including SARS-CoV-2. It will also bind to receptors that SARS-CoV-2 would bind to, limiting the possible sites for transmission. By causing these changes in the body, the vaccine will build immunity against COVID-19 and decrease the severity of infections in progress – serving as both a therapeutic and a vaccine.

Read more:
University of Waterloo developing DNA-based nasal spray vaccine

1.5. Virus Like Particles Vaccine


Virus-Like Particles (VLP) Vaccine | In the preclinical evaluation/regulatory stage

  • Type of candidate vaccine: Plant-derived VLP
  • Nanotechnology part: Using VLPs to mimic the native structure of viruses, allowing them to be easily recognized by the immune system.
  • Developer: Medicago
  • Current stage of clinical evaluation/regulatory status: Phase III

Virus-like particles (VLPs) represent an exciting approach to vaccine development. VLPs mimic the native structure of viruses, allowing them to be easily recognized by the immune system. However, they lack core genetic material which makes them non-infectious and unable to replicate. In other words, they induce an immune response similar to a natural infection but without the inconveniences associated with it. Furthermore, VLPs can be engineered to have antigens attached for use in vaccines or other immunotherapies. Medicago is using this technology platform to develop antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in collaboration with the Laval University’s Infectious Disease Research Centre These SARS-CoV-2 antibodies could potentially be used to treat people infected by the virus.

Read more:
New vaccine and antibody candidates to fight COVID-19
Medicago virus-like particles (VLPs) technologies

2. Respiratory Masks

2.1. Nanofibers Membrane Technology

Nanofiber membranes are made of a dense spiderweb-like network of nanofibers, providing high surface area. These membranes are incorporated into respiratory masks, providing high breathability and filtration efficiency thanks to their strong and durable structures. Face masks most commonly used filter out up to 95 percent of fine pollutants that are at least 300 nm in diameter, referred to as N95 masks.

The researchers from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have developed and tested a highly breathable cellulose nanofiber-based material, which is able to remove virus-size nanoparticles. This nanoparticle-removing new material is developed to be used as a disposable filter cartridge in biodegradable, anti-pollution masks. This is an important factor for people who have to wear masks for long periods or those with existing respiratory conditions. The higher the breathability, the greater the comfort and reduction in fatigue.

Read more:
Highly breathable mask for block out coronavirus

A Korean research team under the supervision of Prof. Il-Doo Kim at KAIST announced the development of a nano-filter that maintains excellent filtering efficiency even after being washed more than 20 times through the development of proprietary technology that aligns nanofibers with a diameter of 100~500 nm in orthogonal or unidirectional directions. This nanofiber design was proven to be water-resistant with more than 94% filtering efficiency in 20 repeated bactericidal tests with ethanol. This reusable nano-filtered face mask could help to relieve the challenges arising from the supply shortage of face masks, which is now awaiting final approval from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety to bring his product into the market. Prof. Kim established his startup company, the "Kim Il-Doo Research Institute," last February 2020. It can currently produce 1,500 nano-fiber filters per day.

YAMASHIN-FILTER CORP. manufactures the world‘s first nanofiber mask inner sheets using YAMASHIN Nano Filter™, which are in-house developed nanofibers made from synthetic polymers. Many of the commonly used disposable masks on the market trap dust and viruses by static electricity. Due to the high moisture absorption from exhaled breath and extended use, the collection performance of those masks greatly reduces over time. Where, this mask has a 3D structure made of extremely thin nanofibers, which has super-high trapping properties.

Metamasks products are made of natural, organic, and sustainable nanofibers using an exclusive nano-coco-carbon™ filter. The unique combination of naturally produced coconut shell carbon and nanofiber matrix allows an extremely thin membrane (less than 1mm) that prevents up to 99.99% of toxic airborne pollution from entering the body.

Nanopoli Nanofiber mask with four layers of filter protection includes a water-repellent layer made of non-woven fabric, two layers of nanofibers providing high filtration efficiency, and a silky skin-friendly layer which cares for facial skins. The air filtration rate of this mask exceeds 98.75%.

Profit Royal Pharmaceutical Limited is produced nanofiber-based smart masks which can kill 99% of bacteria within 5 minutes, and is the only bacteria-killing nanofiber mask currently mass-produced.

Nanovia’s face masks use fabric laminates with a nanofiber layer, forming a barrier against penetration of microorganisms – bacteria, viruses, mold, and fungi spores or dust particles on the principle of their mechanical detection.

As the deadly novel coronavirus started reaping its grim toll in Europe, NanoSPACE s.r.o. workshops began churning out 10,000 face masks per day for two hospitals in the southern Czech Republic. ReSpimask® nanofiber-based technology is employed in such respirators to protect from Coronavirus, Ebola, and Tuberculosis.

Oxin Sabz Espadan, Nano Tar Pak, Nano Fanavaran Khavar, and Modiran Tosee Salamat Iranian are the other companies produce respiratory masks using polyacrylonitrile nanofibers.

2.2. Nanocomposite Membranes Technology

Copper3D produces a face mask, NanoHack, which incorporates a novel modular filtration system manufactured with the innovative nanocomposites of PLACTIVE® and MDflex®. This active filtration system includes three layers of a non-woven polypropylene impregnated with 5% copper oxide nanoparticles, showing high antimicrobial, antiviral, and antibacterial properties.

Verdex Technologies Inc. exploits a proprietary process technology to functionalize nanofibers, before being incorporated into the masks, which enhances virus filtration potential. This functionalization process allows you to feed in powders/particulates at the same time the fibers are being formed. This means that as the hot fibers are being formed, the powders/particulates naturally stick to the hot fibers ensuring maximum capture and containment within the structure.

ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. has announced an international collaboration with Graphene Composites Ltd (GC) to fight COVID-19 by developing a potential virucidal graphene-based composite ink that can be applied to fabrics including N95 face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) for significantly increased protection. The current N95 masks trap the virus but don’t kill it. Its testing will demonstrate if the graphene ink is an effective virucide which would kill the virus as this could make a big difference to people’s safety. Under the collaboration, ZEN has synthesized a silver nanoparticles functionalized graphene oxide ink that has been documented by previous researchers to kill earlier versions of coronavirus. Once testing is completed, the ZEN/GC graphene ink would then be incorporated into a fabric to be included into masks and filters designed by GC.

Read more:
A COVID-19 virucidal graphene ink for more effective PPE


2.3. Nanoparticles Technology

Promethean Particles Ltd is collaborating with textile companies and leading research facilities to explore the anti-viral effects of its novel copper nanoparticles designed for use in fabrics and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the healthcare sector. By embedding nano-copper into polymer fibres, such as nylon, via a melt extrusion process, it was found that the antimicrobial effect lasted longer than other similar antimicrobial fabrics on the market. The prepared fibers have been sent in independent laboratories in the US and UK for anti-viral testing to ISO standards. If certified, it could open the door to the manufacture and supply of nonwoven fabrics and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to be resistant to COVID-19.

RESPILON’s ReSpimask® VK is a virus killer respiratory mask made of a three-layer nanofiber membrane with a 99.9% filtration efficiency. This mask not only traps the virus but also destroys it. For this feature, the company is recently working on the project to incorporate copper dioxide (CuO) nanoparticles into the nanofiber matrix. Accelerated copper oxide gives the nanofiber-based mask a natural skin-like color, so when a person wears it in the street, it will create rather a civilian than a medical look. The product complies with the requirements for medical equipment of type IIR of standard EN 14683.

Read more:
Traps and kills coronavirus by adding CuO in nanofibers mask

Integricote Inc., based at the UH Technology Bridge, is working in collaboration with the University of Houston on nanotech coatings. This hydrophobic coating developed almost a decade ago to improve the ability of surgical masks to protect against transmission of the virus, which is now using to demonstrate a way to provide more protection against SARS and COVID-19. The proficiency of the technology was tested six months ago, and the masks showed high efficiency against coronavirus penetration by making them impervious to water.

Read more:
Hydrophobic nano-coating on face masks

Sonovia Ltd. developed an anti-pathogen fabric that could be used in masks to stop the spread of coronavirus. The firm says that using a patented nanotechnology process it has managed to create masks and protective textile equipment that have proven effective in blocking the penetration of bacteria and fungus. This technology could be an effective shield against the growing epidemic of COVID-19. Currently, Sonovia‎ is working towards creating protective equipment by partnering with manufacturers across the globe, in hopes that we will be able to design effective, reusable, anti-viral utilities such as face-masks and hazard suits. SonoMask is one of the products of this company made of reusable and washable fabric, in which zinc oxide nanoparticles ensure antimicrobial protection.

Researchers at the University of Central Florida (UCF) are working to create a protective coating that would include a new nanoparticle to catch COVID-19 and kill it within seconds through triggering a chemical reaction using ultraviolet light to destroy it. The coating could be added to hospital masks, gloves, and gowns, which could keep health care providers safer as they diagnose and treat patients infected with the virus. Because their lab is not Biohazard Safety 3 certified, the coating cannot be tested using the actual virus, which requires high-containment facilities. From there it would go through necessary testing before getting approval to be used in the field. It could be months, but the approach could prove useful for other potential pandemics as well as the varied viruses and bacteria that health care providers face in caring for their patients.

Read more:
Nanocoating destroy coronavirus on hospital masks

Master Dynamic Limited has been awarded a $1.29m grant by conglomerate New World Development (NWD) to research and develop a nanodiamond coating to be employed in a new generation of virus-killing face masks. A coating of salt crystals and nanodiamonds destroys viruses and micro-organisms. The company is exploring ways to apply this specific technology to the non-woven material of surgical masks, which may be used to produce high-performance, breathable, and waterproof antibacterial and antiviral masks that can block off, suppress, and even kill bacteria and viruses. The production of this mask is expected to start in April 2020.

Anson Nano-Biotechnology (ZhuHai) Co.Ltd. is developing safe, reusable masks using patented nanosilver technology. Although their small production line limits how many masks they can produce, they claim nanosilver fabric lining the masks can help protect users against viruses and bacteria so that the nanoparticles continuously release ions, which are able to kill viruses and bacteria. Following the coronavirus outbreak, a special policy was put in place and antibacterial and antiviral usage of masks have to be inspected and approved by Guangdong's Drug Administration and Administration of Market Regulation of Zhuhai. Therefore, this product will be available on the market by May 2020.

X.TiO2 Inc. (XTI) introduces XTITM ACTIVE-NANO FACEMASK - the world's first self-regenerating germicidal TiO2Ag facemask based on XTI's revolutionary Active-Nucleus Nano-Particle Technology, with greater than 99.999% germ-killing power under zero light conditions (SGS-tested result on the actual facemask) and with self-regeneration capability by light. The facemask can provide effective protection as a first-hand defense against air-transmitted germs, bacteria, and viruses. The outer TiO2 layer can be refreshed by direct sunlight (UV) exposure to kill off accumulated germs. With 150 times greater odor-absorption capacity than active-charcoal and regeneration capability by light, the multi-tier mask has over 1.5 billion titanium dioxide-silver nanoparticles designed to kill over 650 different kinds of germs under zero light conditions with strong penetration power by breaking into bacteria cells destroying germs while causing no harm to human body cells.

MVX Prime Ltd., (rebranded to Invisi Smart™)‎ produces MVX Nano Mask™ which is a self-cleaning sanitising surgical mask proven to kill 99.9% of all viruses and bacteria that come into contact. The Nano Mask is effective against coronavirus and will be of great value in the prevention of contamination and disease contraction. All masks are treated with an ultra-thin invisible layer ranging between 1-2 micrometres in thickness, enough to protect from viruses. With this clever combination, it allows our users to inhale cleaner, uncontaminated air.


2.4. Graphene Technology

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) researchers have developed a new graphene-coated mask by a laser manufacturing process that could be used against viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. A graphene coating makes surgical masks easier to sterilize and re-use. Led by Guijun Li of PolyU’s industrial and systems engineering department, the team developed a laser manufacturing process that deposits a few layers of the carbon sheet onto commercially-available non-woven masks. The coating makes the masks superhydrophobic, which reduces the chances of infectious drops adhering to them, while graphene’s strong light-absorption properties makes it possible to sterilize them with exposure to sunlight.

Read more:
Graphene-coated masks joins the fight against COVID-19

Directa Plus PLC has highlighted that its graphene material (i.e., G+® graphene) could be used in the production of medical devices to ensure better prevention properties for the Covid-19 pandemic. Directa Plus's graphene is non-toxic and its bacteriostatic properties can help the control of coronavirus in masks, gloves, and gowns.

Read more:
Graphene bacteriostatic properties

LIGC Applications Ltd. has announced that it has developed a reusable face mask, called Guardian G-Volt, based on laser-induced graphene that can conduct electrical charge to kill the trapped microorganisms in the mask's filter, which is effective in blocking out 99 percent of particles over 0.3 micrometers and 80 percent of smaller particles. This product is currently awaiting crowdfunding to be marketed.

Read more:
Reusable graphene mask with an electrical charge



3. Air Filtration Systems

3.1. Nanofibers Technology

Mack Antonoff HVAC installs clean air filtration systems to combat COVID-19 (Coronavirus), mold and mildew, pet dander. The 5” Hepa, Peco, and Nano filters with UV light installed into your existing ductwork is essential for families with allergies, asthma, bronchitis, and other health issues plus keeps your home smelling fresh.

Turn-Key Environmental Consultants sells HealthPro® Compact Air Purifiers, which capture 99.5 % of particles (e.g., viruses and bacteria) down to 0.003 microns. At the heart of this revolutionary system is the exclusive IQAir HyperHEPA® filtration technology. A dense network of nanofibers effectively traps particles of all sizes.

3.2.  Photoelectrochemical Oxidation‎ Technology

According to the University of South Florida, a newly developed air purification device, called Molekule, was set to be tested against a virus acting as a proxy for coronavirus in March 2020, which effectively destroyed air pollutants such as bacteria, mold spores, and viruses. The device uses photoelectrochemical oxidation (PECO), a process that uses UV-A light to activate a catalyst in Molekule's nanoparticle-covered filter to produce free radicals that oxidize air pollutants. This product has the potential to help slow the spread of the virus - particularly in hospitals and healthcare facilities, where he says medical professionals worldwide currently risk their own lives to treat those who have fallen ill.

Read more:
Molekule could help slow spread of coronavirus

4. Disinfectants

4.1. Nanopolymers Technology

Design.123 has introduced a product specially developed for scanning and sanitizing COVID-19, called PRELYNX PORTAL.  Based on the technology utilized in labs and quarantine rooms, as you step through the portal, a hi-powered blast of a nano-polymer disinfectant vapor covers the person passing beneath. This colorless vapor disinfectant uses a potent virucidal agent which inactivates all of many lipophilic and hydrophilic viruses on a person’s surface. The viral cells will immediately start dying and within twenty minutes they will all be dead.

4.2. Nanoparticles Technology

Nanoveu's antiviral screen protector utilizes copper oxide nanoparticles as the active antiviral material and offers a non-invasive and unobtrusive way of protecting a user from a range of microbes (such as E-coli, influenza, MRSA, and coronavirus). This product, or nanoshield, kills 99.99% of viruses and bacteria in minutes. The high surface area of copper oxide nano-particles generates more Reactive Oxygen Species molecules than copper metal - which rupture cell walls and protein structures of bacteria and viruses. Copper oxide nanoparticles cover both the front glass and the phone cover. The copper oxide nanoparticles damage the bacteria and viruses protective coating, causing eventual death. The coating was tested to Japanese JIS Z 2801/ISO 22196 standards and is undergoing further testing in independent labs against globally recognized human coronavirus surrogate OC43 and mouse coronavirus - which comes from the same family as SARS-CoV-2.

Read more:
Nanoveu's antiviral products for tablets and smartphones

NanoCleanSQ solution developed by the University of Guelph and Guelph-based company EnvisionSQ, received funding from the government’s Next Generation Manufacturing Canada program. The program is aimed at developing and producing new, in-demand technologies, equipment and medical products to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. NanoCleanSQ uses photocatalytic nanotechnology to protect high-touch surfaces from bacteria, viruses, fungi, and more. This non-toxic coating adheres to microorganisms and ruptures their protective outer layer, killing them on contact. NanoCleanSQ is a clear coating that when applied to surfaces kills 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria. Its germ-fighting power is fuelled by light and can provide longer protection against surface-to-contact transmission than conventional sterilizers.

Read more:
NanoCleanSQ self-sterilizing solution developed by Guelph researchers

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers have developed surface coatings having both antiviral and antibacterial properties that could be used to fight the current coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2. The new coating could be used in hospitals and healthcare facilities, as well as public locations such as schools, airports, trains, buses, and cruise ships, where it was shown that the active virus lasted 17 days on surfaces. The coatings contain nanoparticles of safe metal ions (e.g., copper) and polymers, painted or sprayed on surfaces, that will be effective for weeks or even months.

Read more:
Anti-coronavirus nanoparticle-based coatings

NanoTouch Materials, LLC. is using nanotechnology to prevent the spread of coronavirus and have sent their products to countries like China, Singapore, and South Korea, where the virus is prevalent. Instead of using chemicals and toxins to disinfect, their products use nanocrystals which are green and effective. On the surface, there's a mineral nanocrystal that are charged by any visible light so incandescent, fluorescent, LED, and sunlight, creating a very powerful oxidation reaction that completely breaks down any organic contaminants.

Read more:
Light-activated nanocoating kills coronavirus

NANO4-HYGIENELIFE surface sanitizer, manufactured by NANO4LIFE EUROPE L.P., kills bacteria and viruses. Once this product is applied on the surface, a layer of “swords” is present. Due to the positive charge of the “swords”, the negatively charged membrane of the microorganisms is attracted and once it gets in contact with the “sword” the cells will be punctured what leads to cell death. Thus, NANO4-HYGIENENLIFE does not kill the cells by interfering with the metabolism (the product is not absorbed by the cells and works from the inside), it is a physical effect by which the cells are immediately killed once they touched the surface.

SHEPROS SDN BHD produces a sanitizer nanosilver multipurpose sanitizer (NSMS) specially formulated with ingredient which is non-foaming, non-skin irritating, and environmentally friendly. It is made of powerful nanocolloidal ingredient which offers disinfecting and sanitizing capabilities through its antimicrobial, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungicidal properties.

FN Nano Inc., a company specializing in photocatalytic intelligent multifunctional coatings and their environmental applications such as air purification and creation of sanitary environments, has developed a new photocatalytic nanocoating based on titanium dioxide, which can decompose and eliminate the organic compounds, bacteria, mold, and viruses on its surface when exposed to light. This nanocoating can significantly control the spread of the coronavirus if applied to the room surfaces in hospitals, government buildings, and public places.

Read more:
Titania-based photocatalytic nanocoatings fight against coronavirus

C-Bond Systems Inc., announced it has partnered with MACOMA Environmental Technologies, LLC to resell FN® NANO, a photocatalytic coating used in hospitals, acute care facilities, assisted living facilities, senior care facilities, athletic centers, schools, child-care facilities, arenas, airports, and other facilities to reduce the spread of airborne toxins and allergens. This titanium dioxide photocatalytic nanotechnology coating is one of the most effective solutions to help combat COVID-19, MRSA, and other deadly pathogens after application to ceilings, walls, building façades, and roofs. Once sunlight or indoor UV light makes contact with the coated surface, it activates the photocatalytic properties of the titanium dioxide and begins to eliminate airborne toxins and allergens.

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C-Bond and MACOMA enter partnership to fight COVID-19

As a division of AT MARMO SERVICE srl that deals with nanotechnology, Nanotech Surface’s transparent nanotechnology-based solutions are being used to disinfectant Milan’s buildings, which is a key measure taken to stop the spread of the coronavirus in Italy. This innovative substance, composed of titanium dioxide and silver ions, can leave the surfaces self-sterilizing for up to two years.

MVX Prime Ltd., (rebranded to Invisi Smart™) is producing an antimicrobial spray, Protex, using the latest ‎nanotechnology to protect homes and hospitals against the growing coronavirus ‎threat. The technology, which is being increasingly used by dental practices in London ‎can be used on various surfaces including furniture, digital devices, and textiles. Once ‎the EPA-certified nanocoating has been sprayed, there is no need to disinfect it for ‎another five years. The cost is $3,000 per hundred square metres, which when split ‎over five years, is approximately $600 a year.‎ The antimicrobial effect of and MVX’s unique ‎formula has been proven to protect against contamination.‎

A broad spectrum of companies such as Cor Silver Skincare, Claypia Co,.Ltd, Dongyang Nano Tech Co., Ltd, Nanogist Co., Ltd., Solco Nano Advance Co., Ltd., M9 Ltd., and Silver MSM ‎is produced nanosilver-incorporated soaps, having antiviral and antibacterial properties. Moreover, such companies as Lion Corporation, Gaia Infonet Co., Ltd., Flora LLC, Nanogist Co., Ltd., NANOPAC (M) Sdn Bhd, and Pinewood exploit the antiviral and antibacterial properties of Ag nanoparticles into their dishwashing and laundry detergents.

4.3. Nanoliposome Technology

Various manufacturers employ nanoliposomes ‎into their shampoos‎, ‎among which ‏mention can be made of ‏NANOMAX INTERNATIONAL, LiQWD Professional Products, ‎Kaedo Group, Nanogen, NanoDerm pro, Aneethun Professional, Richee Professional, ‎SHEPROS SDN. BHD., and Suave Fragrance.

5. Medical Supplies

5.1. Nanosilver Technology

A variety of medical supplies are produced on the basis of nanosilver technology, among which mention can be made of scrubs, gloves, wipes, aprons, bandages, draw sheets, bed pads, and toilet papers. The superb antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral properties of silver nanoparticles are exploited in these products by a lot of companies such as Vileda, Dirk Rossmann GmbH, Walgreen Co, ALEVA, Arco Limited, Key Surgical, Mapa Spontex UK Ltd, Alpha Consumables Ltd, Ansell, Code Happy, Heart Soul Scrubs, Cherokee Uniforms, NMI Health, and Khorasan Paper Industries.

C. Diagnostic

1. Detection Kits


1.1. Magnetic nanoparticles based detection test


  • Nanotechnology part: Using silica-coated iron oxide nanoparticles to extract RNA
  • Developer: Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
The new test uses the magnetic nanoparticles to extract RNA from a solution containing a sample from the patient. These particles, when coated with silica, have a strong affinity for RNA. The solution contains substances that crack the virus open so that its genetic material can be extracted. RNA from the virus in the solution is strongly attracted to the silica-covered magnetic nanoparticles. The next step is to use a magnet to pull the RNA-covered particles out of the solution. It can then identify the genetic code from the RNA and compare it to the coronavirus.

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Silica-coated Iron oxide nanoparticles for COVID-19 test


1.2. Quick-response Lateral-flow Test


Companies such as Sona Nanotech, Mologic, and SureScreen Diagnostics are developing a quick-response lateral-flow test to screen patients for the nCoV19 virus within 5 to 15 minutes. The antibody tests use gold nanoparticles in the test strip that detect COVID-19 biomarkers, IgG, and IgM, which are released on interaction with antibodies embedded in the strip. As a sample moves along the strip the biomarkers come into contact with the antibodies and illicit a colour change, visible in a test line. It is an integration of nanorod technology into a disposable lateral flow test platform for use as a screening tool to help triage individuals. Lateral flow is a paper-based diagnostic test used for the detection of proteins, viral antigens, and small molecules based on a series of capillary beds, such as pieces of nitrocellulose pad. Each pad contains the conjugated antibodies and labels used to detect the analyte and can transport fluid spontaneously. The most popular labels are gold nanoparticles and latex nanobeads, but today a range of label options are available. Other companies such as Mologic and SureScreen Diagnostics are developing lateral flow immunoassay tests for use as rapid diagnostic tools for the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19.

Read more:
Quick-response Lateral-flow test for COVID-19
Antibody tests based on Au nanoparticles
Employing gold nanorods in medical diagnostic tests
Sona Nanotech agreements for 2 million rapid COVID-19 tests
Rapid-response Lateral-flow COVID-19 test
Mologic validation process for COVID-19 rapid diagnostic test
Launch a manufacturing facility for COVID-19 test
SureScreen's COVID-19 rapid test cassette



D. Treatment

1. Pharmaceuticals

Novochizol™ | In the preclinical evaluation stage
  • Nanotechnology part: Chitosan-based nanoparticles aerosol formulation
  • Developer: Bioavanta LLC / Bosti Trading LTD
Novochizol™ is a fully biocompatible chitosan-based nanoparticle that strongly adheres to lung epithelial tissues and ensures sustained release, without systemic distribution. Extensive preclinical testing, conducted by Bioavanta-Bosti’s academic partners, indicates that Novochizol™ is a safe and effective drug delivery technology. Novochizol™ synthesis comprises: 1- A two-step activation of linear chitosan, 2- Addition of essentially any active ingredient – a small molecule or biologic – alone or in combination and 3- An intramolecular reaction that encapsulates the active ingredient and generates a nanoparticle with properties that make it an ideal intra-pulmonary delivery system.

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Novochizol™ nanoparticle generation technology

Peptide nanostructures against coronavirus’ spike proteins | In the preclinical evaluation stage

  • Nanotechnology: Peptide-based nanostructures
  • Developer: Northwestern's Simpson Querrey Institute (SQI)

Researchers are engineering a new nanostructured therapy that could potentially disable the virus and prevent its infection of human cells. MIT team discovered a peptide molecule that specifically and strongly binds to the coronavirus’ spike protein. However, peptide drugs are notoriously challenging because enzymes in our bodies rapidly degrade them, so they lose efficacy. Researchers in Northwestern's Simpson Querrey Institute (SQI) have been working on “gluing” millions of peptides into a nanostructure that becomes the carrier of the precious drugs. The similar chemistry of the drug and the carrier allows the scientists to design nanostructures that protect the peptide drug while it circulates in the body before it encounters the culprit of the disease, the novel coronavirus. The SQI carrier nanostructures have water-filled channels, which could hold the antiviral therapies and protect them from destructive enzymes. The SQI team has been investigating the concept using a potential Alzheimer’s disease drug and the general approach has been found to be highly effective in in vitro experiments.

Read more:
New nanostructured in fighting coronavirus
Research efforts for the community amid coronavirus