A Titanate Nanowire Mask that can Eliminate Pathogens EPFL Labs

nano wire mask atitanatenan

Filter ‘paper’ made from titanium oxide nanowires is capable of trapping pathogens and destroying them with light. This discovery by an EPFL laboratory could be put to use in personal protective equipment, as well as in ventilation and air conditioning systems.

As part of attempts to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic, paper masks are increasingly being made mandatory. Their relative effectiveness is no longer in question, but their widespread use has a number of drawbacks. These include the environmental impact of disposable masks made from layers of non-woven polypropylene plastic microfibres. Moreover, they merely trap pathogens instead of destroying them. “In a hospital setting, these masks are placed in special bins and handled appropriately,” says László Forró, head of EPFL’s Laboratory of Physics of Complex Matter. “However, their use in the wider world—where they are tossed into open waste bins and even left on the street—can turn them into new sources of contamination.”

Researchers in Forró’s lab are working on a promising solution to this problem: a membrane made of titanium oxide nanowires, similar in appearance to filter paper but with antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Their material works by using the photocatalytic properties of titanium dioxide. When exposed to ultraviolet radiation, the fibers convert resident moisture into oxidizing agents such as hydrogen peroxide, which have the ability to destroy pathogens. “Since our filter is exceptionally good at absorbing moisture, it can trap droplets that carry viruses and bacteria,” says Forró. “This creates a favorable environment for the oxidation process, which is triggered by light.”

The researchers’ work appears today in Advanced Functional Materials, and includes experiments that demonstrate the membrane’s ability to destroy E. coli, the reference bacterium in biomedical research, and DNA strands in a matter of seconds. Based on these results, the researchers assert—although this remains to be demonstrated experimentally—that the process would be equally successful on a wide range of viruses, including SARS-CoV-2.

Their article also states that manufacturing such membranes would be feasible on a large scale: the laboratory’s equipment alone is capable of producing up to 200 m2 of filter paper per week, or enough for up to 80,000 masks per month. Moreover, the masks could be sterilized and reused up a thousand times. This would alleviate shortages and substantially reduce the amount of waste created by disposable surgical masks. Finally, the manufacturing process, which involves calcining the titanite nanowires, makes them stable and prevents the risk of nanoparticles being inhaled by the user.

A start-up named Swoxid is already preparing to move the technology out of the lab. “The membranes could also be used in air treatment applications such as ventilation and air conditioning systems as well as in personal protective equipment,” says Endre Horváth, the article’s lead author and co-founder of Swoxid.


Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology working to spray away COVID


What if you could spray away COVID-19?

That’s the idea behind an anti-viral surface coating being developed in a collaborative project between by researchers at The Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) within the University of Waterloo and SiO2 Innovation Labs.

The coating will kill the COVID-19 virus immediately upon contact with any surface.

According to Dr. Sushanta Mitra, Professor of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering and lead researcher on the project.

“The COVID-19 virus can survive on surfaces for 24 hours or more. In order to protect front-line workers and the general public, it’s important that the virus be neutralized immediately when it comes into contact with any surface. Our work will culminate in the production of an anti-viral coating that will do just that.”

                                                                     Dr. Sushanta Mitra


This research is multi-faceted and is being conducted by many different researchers at Waterloo, including chemical engineering professor Boxin Zhao and chemistry professor  John Honek.

In a recent interview, Mitra said he thinks it will be six or seven months before preparations can be made to bring the product to market and he notes the huge advantages of working with SiO2 Innovation Labs, whose commercial and industrial coatings are made here.

“They already make materials to kill pathogens such as e-coli, they make anti-bacterial and anti-microbial coatings … We want the product to be made in Canada to help Canadians fight COVID, and hopefully make it available to the global community,” said Mitra.

In a release from SiO2 Innovation Labs, CTO Bruce Johnston said: “We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Professor Mitra and WIN in order to bring to market a surface coating that can neutralize pathogens quickly and their subsequent spread. Reduced infection rates will save lives and create safer environments in public and private spaces including homes, the work place, schools, stores, public transit and hospitality venues.

“Our history of creating and delivering safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly products is enabling us to meet this historic moment.”

Mitra’s research involves droplet transmission, viral load and interaction with various surfaces. The coating being developed will prevent droplet adherence even as it destroys the virus’ envelope — the lipid membrane — “because when you destroy that, you destroy the virus.”

Most of us learned about the virus ‘envelope’ from the information about the importance of hand-washing, soap being a surfactant.

The plan will be for the anti-COVID-19 material to be available in different forms, as a coating and also in spray or dip coat format.

Health workers can spray it on personal protective equipment (PPE) to repel (and destroy) viral droplets from masks or gowns; the coating can be used on door handles and high touch surfaces and floors.

“Once the economy is reopened and people go back to work, you’ll need this kind of coating,” said Mitra. “Clearing surfaces all the time is labour-intensive, but the coating lasts a long time.”

Do they have much competition for this product from other scientists?

“There are others working on similar products, and that’s good. There are eight billion people on this planet and we can’t meet the entire demand.”

As regards COVID-19, Mitra said: “The global effort is critical. We learn from each other, and that includes on a vaccine. We are all working to push as much knowledge as possible into the public domain.”

Mitra reminds us that The Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology — which is Canada’s largest nanotechnology institute — is committed to UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“And one of the stated goals of the United Nations is good health for everyone,” he said. “This is our small effort in that direction.”

A Declaration of War- The CCP and A Personal Statement Regarding COVID 19 – What ‘We’ Can Do Now

A Declaration of War – A Personal Statement on COVID 19

CBS News ServiceThe number of deaths caused by the coronavirus worldwide reached at least 13,049, including 340 in the U.S. and 4,825 in Italy, where the devastating virus has brought the country to its knees.

New York TimesItaly hit a grim milestone Saturday by recording record-breaking death tolls two days in a row. The country announced its biggest day-to-day increase of infections, which rose to 53,000 people, with nearly 800 new deaths. As bodies pile up in Italian hospitals, morgues and churches, and as medical workers plead for more help, there is no sign yet that Italy is taming its arc of its contagion.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said 114 people had died in the state, and said hospital capacity needs to double to meet the anticipated need for beds to treat patients.

And in More News …

LIVE: Johns Hopkins University – ArcGIS Online for Johns Hopkins

Fox News … Who was Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who warned about the coronavirus?

Fox News … Coronavirus and China – Here’s what Americans should consider

Axios … Timeline: The early days of China’s coronavirus outbreak and cover-up


COVID 19: 22 March, 2020

I just heard what I think makes a tremendous amount of GOOD SENSE. (In my Opinion)

In as much as the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) HAS DECLARED WAR on the US and the World, either by INTENTION or by OMISSION … WE SHOULD CONSIDER OURSELVES NOW AT WAR, and we need to ACT ACCORDINGLY.

My Post is neither RACIST nor meant to incite PANIC. I am URGING HOWEVER THAT “WE ALL ACT TOGETHER – just as …  in the time of War.!”

To Quote General S. Patton – “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week” — George Patton.

FIRST: We need to act just as thE U.S. did after the attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1947. “A Day that will (has) lived in infamy.” Everyone put it into High Gear! We need to respond FINANCIALLY, ECONOMICALLY, INDUSTRIALLY and HEALTH CARE SYSTEM “WISE.” We need to ACT NOW!

SECOND: WE NEED TO MOBILIZE ALL OF INDUSTRY to first supply the needs of the Medical / Health Care sectors (The War). WE NEED TO HIT THIS VIRUS HARD NOW! QUARANTINES. EMERGENCY MEASURES (Maybe areas of Martial Law?), Border Closures, SUPPLY CHAINS (Food, Medical, Industrial. Logistics and Transportation).

All  of this in an effort to (1) Hit the Pandemic hard and quickly, limit Community Transmission and SHORTEN THE DURATION and RATE of DEATH from COVID19.

And (2) We need to bring our Critical Manufacturing and Supply Chains home … back to a Country and Countries that are trusted, are transparent and forthcoming.

Can we even imagine what 10? 20? 30? days would have meant to those suffering in Italy, New York and around the globe today? How many lives may have been saved if only the CCP (Communist Chinese Party) had acted sooner?

What if the CCP  had acted and not suppressed news reports before/ during the time when Hundreds of Thousands of unsuspecting Chinese gathered during Chinese New Year with Friends and Family and then returned “home”?  (Current COVID19 Count over 225,000 infected; over 8,800 Dead in China alone, 13,000 and climbing Worldwide)

How many flights could have been diverted? How many self-directed quarantines could have made the difference?  Dare we say that those who have lost close friends and loved ones due to CCP’s lack of honesty and forthright action have a case for Criminal Negligence? **

Again, Quoting a perhaps forgot but very successful and War Winning General from WWII – “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week” — George S. Patton


Coronavirus, virus which causes SARS and MERS

THIRD: WE NEED TO GET CASH INTO THE HANDS OF MAIN STREET, SMALL BUSINESSES, THE LITTLE GUY to bridge the gap, so that as we shut down the U.S  (and other Countries)  via QUARANTINE to (1) STOP the spread, to provide (2) TIME for our Health Care and Medical Communities to (3) Respond and Ramp up …….  so that WE ALL WILL SURVIVE, Financially, Economically and Health Wise.




What ‘We’ Can Do

•  SELF-QUARANTINE! STAY HOME! DO NOT GO OUT UNLESS NECESSARY (Food, Medical) Rule: At least 6 Feet apart in Public Places. ONLY Groups smaller than 10. YES THIS ALSO INCLUDES YOU YOUNG PEOPLE!  You make think you are “bullet-proof” YOU ARE NOT!

Wash/Clean Your Hands, Face, Clothes and Surfaces

Check on and Look-In on those MOST VULNERABLE in our “At Risk Population”

Cover Cough and Sneezes. BE CONSIDERATE!

Random-Acts-of-Kindness 1-Logo

And most IMPORTANT …




** In late December in the COVID19 Timeline, Chinese Officials were still maintaining the COVID 19 (as it would come to be known) was “not being transmitted from Human to Human.”

Scientists create ‘most effective anti-coronavirus spray’

Coronavirus cases continue to climb, with 120,000+ cases and 4,000+ deaths confirmed around the world. Now a revolutionary spray has arrived, guaranteed to completely sanitise home surfaces for five years.

Coronavirus is a hardy virus capable of lingering on surfaces for a week at the very least. But the release of a revolutionary new anti-coronavirus product promises to prevent the spread of the deadly pathogen.

Antimicrobial spray MVX Protex uses the latest nanotechnology to protect homes and hospitals against the growing coronavirus threat. The spray, developed in Japan by nanotechnology company Nanotera Group, has just been licensed in the UK.

Saba Yussouf, Director of NanoTera Group revealed how the patented and proved tech works. She said: “This technology is a spray that coats any hard or soft surface except human skin, and it can kill bacteria fungus and viruses.

“After you spray our solution on a surface and wait an hour to wait for it to dry, any pathogen – any bacteria, virus or fungus – when it touches the surface cannot spread any further and dies. We don’t go into the cell of the bacteria or the virus and kill it, which is far more complicated.”

“What we do is actually destroy their ability to attach to a host cell, which is how viruses, bacteria and fungus spread. “They need a host cell to get inside this membrane, but we don’t allow that to happen.”

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.

Ms Yussouf added: “It’s alarming so few locations in the UK are using this spray to sanitise and help prevent life-threatening viruses such as coronavirus.”

Dr Jeremy Ramsden, Professor of Nanotechnology at The University of Buckingham’s Clore Laboratory, said: “The recent outbreaks of Coronavirus with the prospect of a far more serious epidemic, highlights the need to diminish the environmental burden of viruses.

“It is a relief that the UK has joined other countries and licensed this spray but we certainly need to educate people on the ease of being able to keep surfaces continuously sterile without the need for further intervention.”

Ms Yussouf believes this spray should be the first line of defence, should the coronavirus outbreak become a pandemic, as some experts fear.

She said: “The NHS should make this tool available on the NHS considering we’re on the verge of a pandemic. If it’s not contained properly, it could keep going for a long time even when an antiviral shot arrives, because there are many strains and mutations.”

“We should start with making it compulsory in NHS hospitals, I think that’s a good start as there are many very old and young people in these hospitals. It’s recommended staff decontaminate surfaces five times a day and that’s a lot of costs and a lot of labour. So, imagine not needing to do it at all for a fraction of the time and fraction of the cost, which is where we can come in and help.”