A team of researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine has demonstrated a way to fight coronaviruses using a specific type of fabric. The team, led by Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering Director Chandan Sen, says exposing the viruses to an electroceutical fabric can eliminate their ability to infect within one minute. The findings were published via pre-print in the online service ChemRxiv.
Sen says coronavirus particles can still be a threat when they attach to personal protective equipment surfaces.
"COVID-19 as we all know is highly infectious, especially (for) healthcare providers; they’re constantly exposed to people that have this infection and although they are wearing, for example, face masks, some of these viruses are adhering to the exterior of those masks and when you are taking off the masks, inadvertently you end up spreading infection," said Sen. "So our challenge here is once this virus comes in contact with the fabric of the mask that it no longer is able to infect anymore."
Sen says "electroceutical" refers to treating a disorder using electrical forces. The process uses a matrix of embedded microcell batteries that can create an electric field and wirelessly generate a low level of electricity that is harmless to humans but can dismantle bacterial infection.
The research team has been studying the use of electroceutical fabric for the last six years. IU says the fabric is currently used as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial wound care dressing.
The team found that exposing the virus, which has its own eletrokinetic properties, to the fabric would incapacitate its ability to infect.
"As we kept understanding from the literature on how the virus is constructed and the fact that it relies on electrostatic forces, we thought then our dressing (would be) capable of disrupting those electrostatic forces. We started testing it and the end results seem very promising."
The electroceutical technology, known as V.Dox Technology, was developed and patented by Arizona-based Vomaris Innovations Inc.
"This work presents the first evidence demonstrating that the physical characteristic features of coronaviruses may be exploited to render them non-infective following contact with low-level electric field-generating electroceutical fabric," said Sen. "Our hope is that these findings will help Vomaris receive FDA Emergency Use Authorization and that we can utilize this fabric widely in the fight against COVID-19, ultimately saving lives."
You can view the results of the study by clicking here.