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Michigan Technological University
Department of Biological Sciences
Copper-infused clay mineral for virus inactivation
Abstract: Infectious agents can be transmitted from the source to a host, often by aerosols, droplets, and fomites. Breaking the chain of infection during transmission is essential to manage the spread of infection. Antiviral materials and coatings with self-sterilizing properties could reduce viral loads from fomites. Copper-based alloys, nanomaterials, and coating technologies have proven effective against various enveloped and non-enveloped viruses. Nevertheless, the development and application of Cu-based antivirals have increased the ecological constraint of the accumulation of Cu ions in the environment. Various copper-based composites, like copper-infused phyllosilicate minerals, polymers, glass, etc., offer strategies to confine the metal and reduce the concentration of metals leaching into the environment. Phyllosilicate minerals infused with cupric ions (Cu2+) can act as antiviral materials for fomite coatings. We used different methods to investigate how the Cu2+ ions interact with the viruses and affect their infectivity. We measured the morphology of phyllosilicate minerals, infusion, and release of the Cu2+ ions from the phyllosilicate minerals. We also tested the effect of EDTA, a chelating agent, and BSA, a blocking agent, on the virus removal by the Cu2+-modified minerals. Our results showed that the Cu2+ ions were involved in virus inactivation and surface adsorption. This suggests that phyllosilicate minerals with Cu2+ ions could reduce viral transmission from fomites while minimizing the environmental impact of copper accumulation.
Short Bio: Vaishali Sharma is a 3rd year Ph.D. student in Biological Sciences at Michigan Technological University. She works with Dr. Caryn Heldt in the Heldt Bioseparation lab, where she investigates how to inactivate viruses using various antiviral materials. She applies techniques such as Chemical Force Microscopy, Transmission Electron Microscopy, Dynamic Light scattering, and virus infectivity assays to understand the mechanisms of virus inactivation.
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