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Advanced Self-cleaning Protective Equipment

In the area of public health, there has been continuing innovation in the development of antimicrobial and antiviral surfaces. The current crisis with Covid 19 highlights this need in the form effective face masks.  Many of the current attempts are aimed at producing large numbers of simple masks that are partially effective in trapping active virus particles within a mesh of non-degradable polypropylene fibers. For the long-run, there is a critically needed need a coating material that can be deposited onto any surface, including the filter layer within a mask, that is capable of not just trapping but deactivating any virus particles.  These coatings that deactivate trapped virus particles are more effective and safer, and with proper design, their activity can be regenerated.   Towards this goal we are developing surfactants that can disrupt the corona virus lipid membrane resulting in the deactivation of virus particles more efficiently than metal ions.  Such surfactants along with appropriate polymer formulations can be used as coatings onto prefabricated textiles, household materials, surfaces in public spaces, as well on face masks.

Local Delivery of Antiviral Agents         

The recent severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus pandemic has created an unprecedented need for local delivery of therapeutics. Current treatment options focus on oral delivery routes which provide reduced bioavailability and can result in harmful side effects. Pulmonary and intravenous (IV) administration provide alternative methods of drug delivery which have the potential to locally target the lungs – the main organ of concern in COVID-19 patients. Incorporating therapeutics into our currently polymeric carriers in the form of nano- and/or microparticles, can provide high bioavailability and systemic dosing. We are currently interested in applying the knowledge previously acquired with the nanospheres and microspheres formulation to prepare formulations for pulmonary and IV delivery systems.